AJK Bar Council calls for early induction of the AJK High Court judges against vacant positions;

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Threatens to take to the State-wide street agitation by legal fraternity if demands are not met by dead-line December 25,

Altaf Hamid Rao;

MIRPUR (AJK), (Parliament Times) : Seeking early induction of all much-awaited 09 judges against much-delayed vacant positions to the High Court of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Bar without further delay, the AJK Bar Council here Tuesday announced to take to the street agitation across the State to get their much-cherished demand acceded to by the authorities by stipulated next one month period.

Announcing to launch the phased protest program to press AJK government for acceptance of the above demand by the legal fraternity from across Azad Jammu Kashmir, Vice Chairman Azad Jammu Kashmir Bar Council Fiyaz Haider Nawabi Advocate told news conference in his office chamber here Tuesday that lawyers throughout AJK will not hesitate to boycott courts, strike and later stage long march to press Azad Jammu Kashmir government if their their demand was not met by the dead-line – December 25 this year sharp.

President AJK High Court Bar Association Baber Ali Khan Advocate, President District Bar Association Mirpur and ex Judge Supreme Court of AJK Masood A. Sheikh and large number of local lawyers were also present on this occasion.

Nawabi demanded on the Prime Minister of Azad Jammu Kashmir Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan Niazi to take immediate notice of the ugly situation caused by the lack of due number of judges to the High Court of Azad Jammu Kashmir for past over an year. “It is the legal, moral and constitutional responsibility of the AJK Prime Minister to ensure early end of, what he described, the history’s worst judicial crises in Azad Jammu Kashmir due causing a stumbling block in dispensation of speedy and inexpensive justice to thousands of the litigants roaming pillar to post in wait of justice for over last 15 months, he added. He underlined that the High Court of Azad Jammu Kashmir was comprising at least 10 judges including a Chief Justice, an Ulema Judge and eight normal judges.

The Vice Chairman AJK Bar Council underlined that at present the High Court of AJK was performing with an only judge – the sitting Chief Justice of the court Mr. Justice Sadaqat Hussain Raja. He added that thousands of under-trial cases in the High Court of Azad Jammu Kashmir were lying shelved in wait of the verdicts due to lack of the bench / benches comprising required number of judges – because of the non-availability of judges.

“It is enjoined upon the sitting AJK ruling elite to bring the ugly situation caused by unrest among the litigants – besides the legal fraternity of Azad Jammu Kashmir due to the inordinate delay in appointment of at least all 8 to 9 judges to the High Court of Azad Jammu Kashmir into the notice of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of Azad Jammu Kashmir Council to pave the way for disposal of thousands of the under-trial cases , without further loss of time”, Nawabi urged.

The Vice Chairman AJK Bar Council pointed out that it was the categorical ruling of the Supreme Court of Azad Jammu Kashmir in famous ‘Younis Tahir Case” that fresh appointment of a judge against the vacant position falling as a result of the retirement of a judge, is required to be filled in within next 30 days and similarly the position fallen vacant suddenly as a result of the death of any judge is required to be filled in within next 90 days. It may be added that then Supreme Court of Azad Jammu Kashmir comprising then Chief Justice Muhammad Azam Khan and Judge (current Chief Justice) Raja Saeed Akram Khan had said in the order “whenever a seat becomes vacant in the High Court of AJK due to the retirement of a judge in routine, will have to be filled in within next 30 days from the date of retirement and if a seat in the HC becomes vacant due to any other reason like death of a judge or resignation by a judge, is required to be filled in within next 90 days”.

Addressing the news conference, President AJK High Court Bar Association Baber Ali Khan Advocate and President Mirpur District Bar Association Masood A. Sheikh, Advocate also called upon the authorities including the government of Azad Jammu Kashmir – to immediately move for ending the much-prolonged judicial crises in Azad Jammu Kashmir following lack of due number of judges in the superior judiciary including the High Court of the State.

They demanded induction of judges – within a month – against all vacant positions in the High Court of Azad Jammu & Kashmir purely on merit in line with law and constitution.

The announced to stage complete weekly boycott of all superior and subordinate courts on every Thursday by the lawyers across Azad Jammu Kashmir under the auspices of all concerned district and tehsil bar associations for next one month. Both of the legal fraternity leaders also unanimously announced to expand the protest program by staging protest by all bar associations of AJk at ‘D’ Chowk in Islamabad if the above required 08 number of judges were not appointed to the High Court of Azad Jammu Kashmir within the next stipulated one month period given by the AJK lawyers representative conference.