LAHORE – The Lahore High Court has no authority to fix salaries and perks of the district judiciary as it is the responsibility of the Punjab government.

The high court could only make decisions regarding the salaries and privileges of the staff working in the LHC, stated by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah in reply submitted by the LHC registrar office in response of a petition moved by employees of the lower judiciary.

Abdul Malik and Skhawat Ali, the petitioners, had sought exclusion of employees of lower judiciary from the rules and regulations of the Civil Servants Act, 1973, and payment to them about three times judicial allowance of basic salary as being paid to employees of higher and superior judiciary.  They submitted the judiciary had been separated from the country’s administration, and now it was an independent state organ under article 175 of the constitution.

Despite that, the staff of provincial lower judiciary was still under the control of Punjab government controlling their administrative and financial affairs, the petitioners through counsel submitted.

He claimed the executive superintendence and financial control by the Punjab government over the staff of district judiciary was hitting the independence of judiciary. He requested the court to declare illegal and constitutional the applicability of the Civil Servants Act, 1973 and rules, or regulations made for the purposes of appointment, removal, promotions and financial matters regarding the lower judiciary staff. He also requested the court to treat the financial and administrative affairs of the aforesaid employees like the staff of superior judiciary.

The petitioners further prayed to issue directions to the government for payment of special judicial allowances equal to three times of the initial basic salary with effect from the year 2008.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah adjourned the hearing until April 10 allowing more time to the Punjab government to file reply.