A two-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain heard a constitutional petition filed in the Supreme Court on July 21, challenging the appointments of retired judges in the superior judiciary of Gilgit Baltistan.
Advocate Ikram Chaudhry appeared on the behalf of petitioner, the Gilgit-Baltistan National Movement’s Chairman Dr. Ghulam Abbas.
Ikram Chaudhry contended that legislative Assembly of GB has unanimously pass a resolution that appoi8ntment of theses judges in higher judiciary is ultraviries of the constitution, adding that he is not prepare to argue the case so court may adjourn the case. He said that he would argue the case in detail.
Meanwhile the president Supreme court Bar Association of Gilgit-Baltistan Malik Haq Nawaz appeared before the court and stated that he want to become a party in this case, adding that he has filed a miscellaneous application in this regard in concern office. He further said that the appellate court has jurisdiction to hear the such kind of cases.
Later, Apex court allowing the Ikram Chaudhry request adjourned the further hearing till indefinite period.
Petitioner had prayed to declare that the appointments of retired judges in the Gilgit Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court were illegal, unconstitutional and against the fundamental rights of the people.
He demanded the apex court to declare provisions of Article 60(5), (6) and (8) of Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009 as being against the fundamental rights of the citizens of Gilgit Baltistan and all norms of justice and principles laid down in law by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Plea has been filed under Article 184(3) of the constitution, making the federation through the law and justice secretary, Gilgit Baltistan Council chairman, GB Legislative Council chairman, Ministry of Kashmir and GB Division secretary and Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly speaker as respondents.
The petitioner submitted that the judges of the Supreme Court could continue till the age of 65, adding that in Pakistan, no judge being older than 65 years should continue as judge or be appointed as judge of the Supreme Court. He noted that retired judges, being of an age greater than 65 years, had been appointed in the Gilgit Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court.
He contended that the judiciary in Gilgit-Baltistan was not independent as the services of the judges of Supreme Appellate Court were not secured under Article 60 of Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009, as the judges and chief judge of the Supreme Appellate Court GB were being appointed for a period of three years while the retiring age of the chief judge and judges of GB Chief Court is 62 years.
The petitioner stated that the authority of appointment was with the prime minister of Pakistan and the Gilgit-Baltistan governor. He said that the consultation of Chief Justice of Pakistan with two senior judges should be part of Article 60.
He requested the court to declare Articles 5, 6, 8 and 60 of proposed law 2009 for Gilgit Baltistan as unconstitutional, as these articles were against the fundamental rights of the people. SANA