A day after the parliamentary committee rejected the proposal to make permanent two additional judges of the high court, the chief justice of the Sindh High Court, Justice Mushir Alam came down heavily on the deision makers.
“This propaganda that Justice Nadeem Akhtar and Justice Shafi Siddiqui don’t pay taxes is to malign their reputation,” Justice Alam said on Wednesday while addressing the high court bar association.
The Parliamentary Committee on Appointment of Judges, headed by Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, had rejected the names of two of the three judges put forward for permanent jobs by the Judicial Commission. It cleared the name of Justice Nisar Shaikh but it said Akhtar and Siddiqui could not be vetted because of tax defaulting.
Justice Alam said the two judges had been legal practitioners for a long time and regularly paid their taxes. “They became judges not for their personal interest but they accepted this responsibility to serve the nation.”
The principal seat of the high court in Karachi and its benches in Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana have short of judges – working with only 24 when it should have 40. Now lawyers are demanding another bench for Mirpurkhas division so justice can be done swiftly from the four districts. The burden currently falls entirely on Hyderabad.
Justice Alam said the parliamentary committee should review its decision because it questioned the credibility of the judges. “Had the court’s orders been implemented, we would not have been facing such a bad law and order situation,” he remarked.
Justice Syed Sajjad Ali Shah and the bar office bearers also addressed the reception. SCHBA’s general secretary Ayaz Tunio requested the CJ to address the shortage of judges in Hyderabad. Between three to four judges are sent on rotation to the bench which should have six judges, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2013.