LHC sets the precedent by disclosing salaries

Transparency ensues when information is available for all.


Rana Tanveer March 27, 2017
PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: Transparency is not only a powerful tool to fight corruption, but also a key component to foster a culture of trust. And it will ensue when the people know all details.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has done exactly the same by making pubic perks and privileges of its staff, including the chief justice. CJ Syed Mansoor Ali Shah has even appointed a public information officer to deal with any applications from people, who want to know anything about the provincial judiciary.

According to the LHC media cell, Punjab’s top judge is taking home about Rs1.05 million with Rs713,280 in basic pay, Rs269,525 in special judicial allowance and Rs67,733 as medical allowance. While he is also entitled to Rs65,000 in monthly house rent, he is not withdrawing the amount as he lives in his official residence.

The LHC has set an example by disclosing the information, following instructions from the Punjab Information Commission (PIC). Of course this positive step of the top court of the province will help establish confidence of the common man on judiciary.

A transparent leadership is the key to foster a culture of trust between leaders, employers and the taxpayers, who are the most important component of this relationship. Employees and all the quarters concerned who are kept in the loop in overarching purpose and goals of the institutions are, understandably, more likely to put their trust in the public.

Another important factor to give people access to information is that it helps in fighting corruption. When information is not freely accessible, the corrupt can get away with hiding the evidence of their crimes and resultantly the institutions suffer.

The PIC had also directed the LHC registrar to take immediate steps to fulfil all legal obligations as per sections 4, 7, 8 and 10 of the information act, especially in terms of proactive disclosure of salaries, allowances and other perks and privileges of all judges and staff on the LHC website.

The commission had directed the LHC to establish an efficient mechanism to decide all pending or future information requests within the timeframe prescribed in section 10(7) of the act.

In line with ensuring full transparency in the institution of provincial judiciary, the CJ should also give the institution’s stance on the controversial issue of appointments and promotions of its staff made by his predecessors.

Often Rule 26 of the Lahore High Court laws, on which the incumbent chief justice, being a judge of the LHC, had issued a detailed judgment, has remained under discussion in media and affected employees, giving a wrong impression about administration of aligning with this controversial legal provision.

Last week, an LHC judge had directed the registrar to provide a list of all beneficiaries of Rule 26 to a petitioner.

Time is ripe for the administration of the LHC to make its stance public on the issue as a step to ensure transparency. Let’s hope this paves the way for more such steps in the future to ensure transparency.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2017.

COMMENTS (1)

ishrat salim | 4 years ago | Reply Hope this kind of step is also followed by other govt depts & other courts in the country.
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