SC registrar questions PIC order to make staff data public

Contends that commission has no jurisdiction to pass order seeking information from constitutional courts

Hasnaat Malik September 23, 2021
A file photo of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: EXPRESS


The Supreme Court registrar has questioned the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) order to make the details of its staff public.

In May 2019, applicant Mukhtar Ahmed Ali had approached the PIC seeking particular information about the total sanctioned strength of staff members of the Supreme Court (category-wise) against different positions/pay-scales.

The data sought details from pay scale 1 to 22 (category-wise), along with total vacancies in the top court against different pay-scales/ positions (category-wise) and dates since which these positions had been lying vacant.

The applicant asked for the number of staff members who were not regular but had been engaged on daily-wage basis or through short-term or long-term contracts against various positions/pay-scales (category-wise) and the number and types of positions created anew since January 1, 2017.

Total number of female staff members (category-wise) against various positions/pay-scales working with the Supreme Court, persons with disabilities against various positions/pay-scales, transgender persons working against various positions/pay-scales and a certified copy of the latest approved Service Rules of the SC were also required.

On July 12, PIC directed the SC registrar to share with the appellant the requested information at the earliest, but not later than 20 working days of the receipt of this order.

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"Worthy Registrar, Supreme Court of Pakistan is directed to notify Public Information Officer, (PIO), under Section 9 of the Act, put contact details of PIO on its website as required under Section 5 (1) (h) of the Act. Worthy Registrar, Supreme Court of Pakistan is directed to take immediate steps to proactively share through the web site all categories of information mentioned in Section 5 of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017, ensuring accessibility of the information proactively published on its web site for all citizens, including the blind, low-vision, physically disabled, speech and hearing impaired and people with other disabilities," said the PIC order.

However, it was learnt that the SC registrar through the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) office again approached the PIC for recalling its order.

The SC registrar through the AGP office contended that PIC had no jurisdiction to pass order seeking information from constitutional courts.

In response to SC registrar’s application, PIC sought assistance from the additional attorney general asking how the order could be recalled, when there was no legal provision for reviewing its orders. Under the law, aggrieved party could approach the high court against the PIC order.

Likewise, a senior lawyer said that there was no judicial order which restricted PIC jurisdiction to pass orders regarding high courts and Supreme Court.

Similarly, there was no judicial order which said that access to information law was not applicable on the superior courts.

PIC will take up the matter on September 30 wherein the additional attorney general will assist as to how the PIC order could be recalled.


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