LAHORE – The Supreme Court dismissed on Thursday an appeal of the federal government challenging a verdict of the Lahore High Court ordering it to increase salaries of federal court staff equal to employees of high courts and apex court.

Hearing the appeal at the Supreme Court Lahore Registry, a two-member bench, comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmed, asked the deputy attorney general Naseem Kashmiri to file an intra-court appeal (ICA) before the LHC instead of pursing the matter before the apex court.

In October 2012, a LHC bench had passed a verdict on a petition moved by about 1,000 employees of the banking courts, custom courts, accountability courts and other federal tribunals. The bench had directed the federal government to increase the salaries of the said employees as equal to the staff of high courts and the apex court.

The employees through Advocate Aftab Ahmad Bajwa had submitted salaries of high courts and supreme courts were increased threefold under the judicial policy but federal government was not increasing their salaries and that was a clear discrimination.

On Thursday, the counsel opposed the federal government’s appeal by arguing the federal government should have to challenge the LHC verdict by filing an ICA which they did1 not. Therefore, this appeal was non maintainable as it didn’t fulfill the criteria laid down in this regard by a seven member bench of the apex court. He pointed out the staff had also moved a contempt of court petition against the federal government for not complying with the LHC verdict ordering increase in salaries, and the petition was still pending before the LHC.  He requested the court to dismiss the appeal. The apex court accepted his request by dismissing the federal government appeal.

REPLY SOUGHT: The LHC issued notice to MPA Khan Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan Khichi on a petition seeking his disqualification. Khan Muhammad is a newly-elected MPA from PP-239 of Vehari. A defeated candidate of PPP, Imran Khan Khichi, moved the court, alleging that the respondent was a bank defaulter and did not meet the criteria prescribed under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution to become a lawmaker.

The petitioner requested the court to declare the respondent MPA ineligible.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard initial arguments on Thursday and issued notice to the MPA seeking reply within two weeks.

REJECTED: Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh of the Lahore High Court refused hearing a petition seeking disqualification of two members of the Inland Revenue appellate tribunal working despite lacking disqualification and undertaking to resign.

The petition was moved by Waheed Shahzad Butt challenging appointment of both members Shahid Jamil Khan and Ch Munir Sadiq. The judge returned the file to the LHC chief justice for fixation it before another appropriate bench.

The petitioner had submitted appointments of members of Tribunal being regulated in accordance with sub-section (3) of section 130 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 and Article 193 of the Constitution which says a person may be appointed as judicial member of the Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue, if the person is qualified to be a judge of the High Court and a person shall not be appointed a judge of a High Court unless he is a citizen of Pakistan, in not less than forty five years of age.

He pointed out Supreme Court on November 06, 2012 had ruled that the respondents’ appointments had been taken place illegally”. However, at this juncture respondent members themselves decided to tender resignations to avoid any serious verdict.

He contended on contrary in utter disregard to the aforesaid statement made by said respondents, they withdrawn their resignation and built pressure upon the respondent Tribunal to assign them judicial work. The petitioner further pointed out that on failure to succeed, they maneuvered to get permission from the respondent Ministry of Law through Letter issued on January 10, 2013 to hold public office and carry out Judicial Work despite the fact that their appointments had been declared illegal by the Apex Court.

NEW PROVINCE ISSUE: The LHC issued notice to the federation on a petition challenging report of parliamentary commission to form another province.

Three petitions of similar nature are already pending with the court.  The fresh petition was moved by Advocate Muneer Chohan of Bhakkar district.

He submitted residents of Bhakkar were unwilling to join the new planned province. He said no such decision could be legal without proper representation of elected representatives from Bhakkar and Mianwali.

He said the parliamentary commission formed in this regard was totally illegal and unconstitutional and cannot take decision to form another province.

He pointed out there was no provision in the constitution to form another province. According to the Article 239(1), alteration in the boundaries of the province can be made but no new province can be made.

He further pointed out MNA Ali Moosa Gilani, son of former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, was the member of the commission but instead of him, his brother Abdul Qadir Gilani MNA put his signatures on the report.

He requested the court to declare the commission and its report as illegal and constitutional.