Sunday, January 1, 2012

Reference against judge for threatening Governor Gilgit Baltistan

ISLAMABAD: In a unique case of judicial history, a judge of the apex court in Gilgit Baltistan has been formally charged to have hurled serious threats, including life threats, at the GB governor, and may even face removal from office. The chief judge of the GB Supreme Appellate Court and chairman GB Supreme Judicial Council, Justice Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi, has filed a reference before Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to initiate the proceedings against the judge - Justice Syed Jafar Shah.

A senior official source in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat told The News that the federal government has received the reference against the judge who is charged to have hurled at GB Governor Pir Karam Ali Shah ‘threats of life, setting his house at fire and also dire consequences of sectarian hatred’.

According to the reference (SAC-CJ-08/2011 dated December 22), the top judge and mover of the reference, Justice Nawaz Abbasi, was approached by GB Governor Pir Karam Ali Shah on December 19 at about 2:45pm on telephone conveying that Justice Jafar Shah has extended him threats of life, setting his house at fire and also dire consequences of sectarian hatred in a manner of his personal interest.

Justice Abbasi added the governor at about 8pm again contacted him and repeated the above fact on phone and informed that the governor had also brought the matter to the notice of the GB chief secretary.

According to the reference, Justice Abbasi was also informed by the chief secretary that the governor had intimated him about the matter. In addition to this, Justice Abbasi was also informed by the secretary Kashmir Affairs and Northern Affairs Division, government of Pakistan, that Governor Pir Karam Shah had confirmed to him as well about the threats that he had allegedly received from a top judge of GB.

Narrating the facts of the case, Justice Abbasi argued: “The Judicial Office is a sacred office and according to unwritten code of conduct applicable to all Judicial Offices in a Judicial System, a judge must be humble and behave in a dignified manner without being rude and rough to any person. A judge is required to maintain high moral in private and official life, and must avoid indecent behaviour to any person in society. The extending threats of life to governor and threats of setting his house at fire with consequence of sectarian hatred by a judge is certainly a serious matter, which is not only an insult and showing disrespect to the governor but is also a criminal offence and disgrace to the high office of a judge of Supreme Appellate Court, Gilgit Baltistan”.

The reference added: “As narrated by the governor, the act of extending threats to him by the judge of Supreme Appellate Court is shocking and unbecoming of a judge and a gentleman. The above behaviour of a judge is highly derogatory to the Code of Conduct circulated by the Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit Baltistan throughout Gilgit Baltistan which is incorporated in the judgment on the subject of the independence of judiciary in Gilgit Baltistan reported as (2010 GBLR 160) and Syed Jafar Shah is also party to the judgment as a judge of Supreme Appellate Court, Gilgit Baltistan”.

Referring to the procedures for the removal of a judge, Justice Abbasi said the prime minister of Pakistan as being chairman of the Gilgit Baltistan Council or the GB governor as the case may be, on information from Supreme Judicial Council or from any other source regarding misconduct of a judge, shall direct for inquiry by the Supreme Judicial Council and if the SJC is of the opinion that the judge is guilty of misconduct, the chairman GB Council (Prime Minister of Pakistan) shall advise the GB governor to remove the judge from his office. It is also explained that inquiry into the conduct of a judge by the SJC is mandatory and if judge is found guilty of misconduct by the SJC, the removal of such judge from office is mandatory.

“In the present case, the judge extended threats to the governor who is removing authority of a judge and the governor brought the matter to the notice of Chairman Supreme Judicial Council. The matter is extremely serious which may constituted misconduct within the ambit of Article 66 of Gilgit Baltistan (Empowerment and Self-Governance) Order, 2009, therefore, keeping in view the gravity of the matter, this is my duty as Chief Justice Gilgit Baltistan and Chairman, Supreme Judicial Council to place the matter before the chairman, Gilgit Baltistan Council for necessary direction to the Supreme Judicial Council for inquiry and report in the matter in the interest of the dignity of high office of governor and also of the Institute of Supreme Appellate Court, Gilgit Baltistan. The chairman, Gilgit-Baltistan Council may if consider proper directly proceed for appropriate action in accordance with law,” the reference concluded. The News, January 1, 2012

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