Sunday July 21, 2024

IHC surrenders Rs144m as part of austerity drive

The court surrendered 30% of its total budget allocated for FY2021-22 to the public kitty

By Ansar Abbasi
June 02, 2023
The Islamabad High Court (IHC). — AFP/File
The Islamabad High Court (IHC). — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: While the austerity drive in general remains unclear, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has surrendered Rs144 million from its current fiscal year budget to the Finance Ministry.

The IHC was allocated a budget of Rs1.1 billion for the current fiscal year. On May 30, the IHC surrendered Rs144 million to the Finance Ministry. After the surrender of the said amount, the revised budget for the IHC is Rs966 million.

Recently, IHC Chief Justice (CJ) directed the authorities concerned to cut the budget and surrender savings to the public kitty in public interest and as a national cause. The IHC CJ also ordered that no honorarium will be given to any employee. Last year also in June, the IHC had surrendered 30 percent of the total budget allocated for FY2021-22 to the public kitty.

In February this year, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had announced austerity measures that include cuts in the budget of all government entities, withdrawal of certain perks and privileges of cabinet members, parliamentarians and government servants, including luxury vehicles and security/protocol. The premier had also appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) and judiciary to contribute to the national austerity drive by reducing spending on the judiciary, judges (both serving and retired), judicial officials and employees. He expected the judiciary to limit the maximum pension of retired judges to Rs500,000 a month besides reviewing the perks and privileges of judges (both serving and retired).

Regarding the cut in the non-combat defence budget, the Finance and the Defence ministries were in contact to finalise their recommendations, but there has been no announcement as yet how much cut from the defence budget was made.

Similarly, there has been no indication from the Supreme Court of Pakistan and high courts (barring the exception of IHC) how much they saved from their budget to contribute to the national austerity drive. Interestingly, there is also no update shared with this correspondent either by the PM’s office or the Ministry of Finance about the implementation of the austerity measures announced by the prime minister.

The prime minister had not cut the size of his 85-member cabinet to 30 as was recommended by the National Austerity Committee but his cabinet members had announced not to draw any salary or facility from the public exchequer.