Kashmir: G-B moves apex court against appointment of judges

Jammu & Kashmir POK - Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

ISLAMABAD: The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government approached the Supreme Court on Tuesday against the recent appointment of three judges to the region’s chief court by the Pakistan government.

It is learnt that G-B Chief Minister Khalid Khursheed Khan filed a constitutional petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. The petition contended that the appointments were made in violation of the G-B Government Order 2018 and the G-B Rules of Business, 2009.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appointed three judges of the G-B Chief Court on September 16 following a summery moved by Governor Syed Mahdi Shah. However, it is further learnt that the summary for the appointments was initiated without consulting the chief minister.

A Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader privy to the filing of the petition, told The Express Tribune that the summary was moved without holding consultation with the chief minister or the cabinet.

In the petition the G-B government contended that the action of the prime minister and the G-B governor were illegal and in violation of the Gilgit-Baltistan Government Order 2018 read with the Gilgit-Baltistan Rules of Business 2009.

Another senior PTI leader said that under Article 35 of the order, the chief minister and the cabinet were included in the government, adding that the governor or the prime minister of Pakistan could not act without the mandatory consultation with the G-B government.

Therefore, without the advice of the cabinet or the chief minister, he said, any act, including the appointments to the G-B Chief Court, could not be considered as lawful or in accordance with the Order of 2018.

“Such appointment without the consultation with the chief minister, the elected representatives on the G-B cabinet, and Rules of Business cannot sustain in the eye of law,” the PTI leader stated.

“The Gilgit Baltistan Government Order is absolutely binding upon the respondents under Article 190 of the Constitution of Pakistan. Any deviation on the part of the respondents makes them amenable to be proceeded against, in accordance with law.”

At present, four Judges – the chief judge and three other Judges – are working in the Chief Court. The chief judge and one other judge have been appointed from the subordinate judiciary whereas the two other judges were appointed from the lawyers community.

The Gilgit-Baltistan Government Order, 2018 stipulated that “under Article 84(1) of the Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Court shall consist of a Chief Judge and other Judges not exceeding six, of whom 60% shall be appointed from Lawyers community and 40% from subordinate judiciary”.

Under the 2018 order, seven posts of judges existed in the Chief court, out of which three posts of judges had already been recommended for confirmation or extension. A summary for appointment of two judges was already sent to the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan while one post of judges lied vacant.

Since the Article 84(1) of the order said that 60% of judges’ posts would filled from the lawyers community and 40% from the subordinate judiciary, the existing one vacant post of judge lied in the quota of the lawyers fraternity.__Tribune.com