Threat to independent judiciary

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By Our Correspondent

Judicial system of AJK comprises of two superior courts(in addition to subordinate courts) namely High Court and Supreme Court to be the highest court of appeal. Under Article 42 of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution, Supreme Court consists of one Chief Justice and 2 Judges, whereas in view of Article 43 of Interim Constitution read with Section 5(1) of AJK Courts and Laws Code 1949, High Court consists of a Chief Justice and 9 other judges.

It has been heard from plausible sources that some of the recently sacked judges of the High Court, in connivance with the Government have sent an application to the President for initiation of reference proceedings against Acting Chief Justice of AJK Honorable Justice Raja Saeed Akram Khan, by sending the same before Supreme Judicial Council.

It is noteworthy to point out that in view of Article 42-E of the Interim Constitution 1974, composition of Supreme Judicial Council is manned on 2 senior judges of Supreme Court besides Chief Justice of High Court whereas after the retirement of Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal, quorum of Supreme Court is incomplete meaning thereby Supreme Judicial Council can not be constituted(as currently Supreme Court is functioning only on 1 Judge against whom government wants to proceed reference).

Sources say that preparation of reference proceedings is based on mala-fide and is the outcome of the judgment rendered in Barrister Adnan Nawaz case wherein 5 judges of the High Court were ousted on the very rationale that consultation(being mandatory requirement with both Chief Justices in view of Article 43-2A) was not duly made.

Moreover it was held in the Supra case that since government was not aggrieved party in the judgment under review but still they opted to file review petition alongside sacked judges therefore it can safely be presumed that Government had appointed Judges in the High Court at its own sweet-will which is tantamount to mock/frustrate the golden concept of “independence of judiciary”.

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