SC allows petitioner to amend prayer clause against decisions of ex-GB judge

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday allowed the petitioner to amend his prayer clause against the decisions of Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court former chief judge Rana Shamim and Judge Nawaz Abbasi. 

A bench of the apex court comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan conducted hearing of an appeal against the SC Registrar Office objections regarding the GB judges pension and perks and privileges in the chambers. 

The petitioner Muhammad Ibrahim along with Advocate Arif Chaudhry appeared before Justice Ijaz in the chamber. The SC in 2008 pronounced a judgment (PLD 2008) that judges irrespective of their length of service would be entitled for the pension and pension related benefits. This judgment was announced by a bench of SC headed by the then Judge Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi. He retired from his service on attaining the age of superannuation i.e. 65 years. 

Government of Pakistan Ministry of Kashmir Affairs in January 2009 appointed Nawaz Abbasi as Chief Judge of the GB Supreme Appellate Court for a period of three years, while Syed Jaffar Shah (late) and Muhammad Yaqub were appointed as judges of the Supreme Appellate Court also for the period of three years. 

The Chief Judge and judges of the NAs Supreme Appellate Court, who had proceeded to their home on completion of their tenure had filed a representation for extending of pension benefits to them in the light of Supreme Court of Pakistan Judgment (reported as PLD-2008 SC page-522), which was submitted by the Registrar of the NAs Supreme Appellate Court to the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs Islamabad. 

The government of Pakistan had enforced Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) (Empowerment and Self-Governance) Order-2009 on 9th September 2009 by repealing previous Governance Order-1994 of the region and prescribed qualification, tenure of appointment and other terms and condition of service for the Chief Judge and Judges of G-B Supreme Appellate Court. Article 60 (8) of the G-B Order-2009 provides that the Chief Judge and Judges of the Supreme Appellate Court G-B shall be appointed for a term not exceeding three years and may be appointed for such further term as the government of Pakistan may determine, unless they sooner resign or are removed from office in accordance with law. 

Article 60 (10) provides that the remuneration and other terms and conditions of service of the Chief Judge and Judges of the G-B Supreme Appellate Court shall be such as are admissible to the Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The qualifications for appointment of Chief Judge and Judges of G-B SAC are identical to the Chief Justice of FSC.  Ministry of Kashmir Affairs through a letter on 6th October 2009 (after the enforcement of GB Order-2009) had accepted the representation of ex-Chief Judge and Judges of the Supreme Appellate Court and allowed the benefits in the light of judgment of Supreme Court of Pakistan 2008. 

The 2nd batch of the judges (chief judge and two judges) of the G-B Supreme Appellate Court (SAC) had rendered an independent judgment on the touch stone of SCP of Pakistan judgment (which was extended to G-B by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs on 6th October 2009) in a suo motu case and had interpreted various provisions of GB Order-2009 and entitled the Chief Judge and Judges of the GB SAC for pension benefits as admissible to the Chief Justice and Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan under Presidential Order No. 2/1997. In view of the SAC judgment this batch of judges got hefty pension and perks and privileges including the down payment of vehicle on completion of three-year term. 

The petitioner submitted that a larger 5-judge bench in 2013 had declared the previous law/judgment of 2008 as per incuriam and held that judges less than five years’ service could not get the pension benefits. However, the federal government did not stop the pension and other benefits extended to the Judges of the G-B SAC. 

The judgment authored by the bench of G-B SAC headed by Nawaz Abbasi was twice reviewed by the 4th batch of judges, headed by former Chief Judge Rana Muhammad Shamim and allowed more benefits to the Chief Judge and judges of the said court. 

Rana Muhammad Shahmin, who was appointed as Chief Judge of G-B Supreme Appellate Court on 24th August 2015 at the age of 65 years and completed his three year tenure on 30th August 2018 at the age of 68 years had obtained the hefty pension commutation amounting to Rs6,7306073/- (Six crore seventy three lac six thousand seventy three rupees) and monthly pension, down payment vehicle of 2700 CC (Fortuner Vehicle) Regular and Contingent paid staff. 

The Chief Judges and other Judges of the G-B Supreme Appellate Court appointed since 2005 to 2016 (batch 1 to 4) on completion of their respective three-year term had obtained commutation of pension in terms of millions of rupees and are still getting monthly pension and other privileges from the national exchequer.

 

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