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October 1, 2020

Sanctioned strength of IHC judges to become similar to BHC

National

October 1, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The strength of judges in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) is going to become exactly the same as that of the sitting justices of the Balochistan High Court (BHC).

At present, the BHC has ten judges, including the chief justice, while the IHC currently has seven justices along with the chief justice. However, a recent amendment inserted in the IHC Act 2010 by a joint sitting of parliament has raised the number of judges of the IHC to nine from six excluding the chief justice.

Currently, the IHC comprises Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Ms. Lubna Saleem Pervez , Justice Fiaz Ahmad Anjum Jandran and Justice Ghulam Azam Qambrani.

Of them, Justice Ghulam Azam Qambrani, who belongs to Balochistan, Justice Fiaz Ahmed Anjum Jandran, who belongs to the federal capital and Justice Ms. Lubna Pervaiz, who hails from Sindh, are additional judges, who have yet to be confirmed as justices. They were appointed in December last year.

The BHC comprises Chief Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan, Justice Muhammad Hashim Khan Kakar, Justice Muhammad Ejaz Swati, Justice Muhammad Kamran Khan Mulakhail, Justice Zaheer-ud-Din Kakar, Justice Abdullah Baloch, Justice Nazeer Ahmed Langove, Justice Rozi Khan Barrech and Justice Abdul Hameed Baloch.

Before the induction of three ad hoc judges, the IHC had a relatively low number of five justices because of the comparatively small workload. However, there have been demands recently that the judges’ strength should be increased for the expeditious disposal of cases.

The workload of the IHC has increased considerably because of the functioning of three accountability courts in Islamabad where a large number of cases, including those involving high profile political figures, are being heard. Appeals against all orders and judgments of the accountability courts are filed in the IHC.

The workload increased manifold after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) accelerated its drive against corruption. Under the IHC Act, the chief justice and the judges are appointed from the provinces and other territories of Pakistan as per the Constitution.

The IHC has, in respect of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), original, appellate, revisional and other jurisdictions as under the Constitution or the laws in force immediately before the commencement of this act exercisable in respect of the ICT by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

The IHC has original jurisdiction in suits and proceedings having pecuniary value of ten million rupees or more. The act also says that any law in force immediately before the appointed date relating to the powers of the chief justice and of single judges and benches of the LHC, and with respect to all matters ancillary to the exercise of those powers, shall mutatis mutandis apply in relation to the IHC.

All civil, criminal and revenue courts and all tribunals and special courts functioning in the ICT which were within the jurisdiction and under the superintendence and control of the LHC before this act now fall within the jurisdiction and under the superintendence and control of the IHC.

The act states that the IHC will take necessary steps for establishing the subordinate judiciary for the ICT within six months of the commencement of this act. The judges of the subordinate judiciary working on deputation will be sent back to their respective high courts after establishment of the subordinate judiciary for the ICT.