ISLAMABAD: In what appears to be another row between the judiciary and the executive, the Supreme Court has refused to allow the parliamentary anti-corruption watchdog to quiz its registrar over the apex court’s financial accounts.
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan – who is a Pakistan Peoples Party loyalist – seems adamant to scrutinise the apex court’s accounts.
The committee will decide the matter on Thursday after deliberating over the Supreme Court’s response, Chan told a PAC meeting on Tuesday.
The PAC has not only decided to revisit the policy of handing out plots to judges and bureaucrats, it has also made public two lists of containing names of those who have obtained one or more plot(s).
“Obtaining more than one plot by judges and bureaucrats also comes under the ambit of the National Reconciliatory Ordinance,” said Chan. “It is possible that we may not be able to get the plots back, but we will definitely bring an end to this discriminatory practice in the future.”
The General Headquarters (GHQ) ignored a request from the PAC for names of generals who were allotted plots. The committee sent a reminder to the military.
The issue of asking the Supreme Court to allow its registrar to appear before the committee was first raised during the tenure of Chan’s predecessor Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. Chan also believes in making the SC accountable for its expenditures.
The SC, on the other hand, has questioned the authority of PAC. “The Supreme Court is not part of the government and the rules only empower the PAC to examine accounts showing misappropriation of money granted by the National Assembly. Since the sum allocated to the SC is charged expenditure on federal consolidated funds, it is not in principle granted by the assembly,” it said in its response.
The SC also maintained that under Article 68 of the Constitution, no discussion shall take place in Parliament with respect to the conduct of judges with regard to their duties or their financial and administrative affairs.
The list does not contain the name of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and 11 other sitting judges, but does cite Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain as a beneficiary.
The PAC’s list which contains the names of 21 judges includes:
Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan
Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani
Justice Nasirul Mulk
Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali
Justice Arif Hussain Khilji
Justice (retd) Mansor Ahmad
Justice Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi
Justice Faqir Khokhar
Justice Syed Saeed Ashad
Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar
Justice Sardar Raza Khan
Justice Javed Iqbal
Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday
Justice Falak Sher
Justice Syed Jamshed Ali
Justice Zahid Hussain
Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmad
Justice Ghulam Rabbani
Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmad
Justice Mohammad Sair Ali
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2012.