Examination to confirm judges of lower judiciary challenged

IHC allows IBA to become party in civil judges’ petition

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi of Islamabad High Court (IHC) allowed the Islamabad Bar Association (IBA) to become a party in a case in which 18 civil judges of the district judiciary have challenged the mandatory examination for confirmation of their services after they failed to clear the first session of the exam. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted the civil judges stay in December last year and as a result the examination was postponed for an indefinite period.
The schedule for the departmental examination for confirmation was issued on June 23, 2015. According to the schedule, the first departmental exams were to be conducted in August 2015, December 2015, March 2016 and July 2016. Some 18 judges challenged mandatory examination for their confirmation. These civil judges were inducted in the Islamabad judiciary in 2012. After their probationary period expired in September 2014, the IHC administration extended it for another two years which is going to expire in September 2016.
The civil judges who challenged the departmental examination before their confirmation include Mujahid Rahim, Mubeshar Hassan, Omer Shabbir, Shahzad Khan, Mohammad Shoaib Akhtar, Raffat Mahmood Khan, Shaukat Rehman Khan, Shoaib Bilal, Shaista Khan Kundi, Malak Aman, Mohammad Naveed Khan, Mohammad Azhar Nadeem, Ayesha Shabbir, Umbreen Iqbal, Saqib Jawwad and Raja Furrakh Ali Khan.
The judges were required to appear in the papers of criminal law, civil law, revenue law, accounts and Sharia law. They filed identical petitions in the high court where they were granted interim relief as the court suspended the examination schedule after preliminary hearing.
As a result IHC administration could not conduct the examination for the confirmation of the civil judges as per schedule issued with the approval of the IHC chief justice. It was in March this year when IBA decided to become party in the matter. IBA through Advocate Wajid Mughal had filed an application with IHC to become a party in the petitions filed by the civil judges. The bar association is of the view that the civil judges who could not qualify departmental examination be removed and the vacant position be filled on merit.
Earlier, the civil judges had filed a representation before the IHC administration but Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had rejected their request to forgo the examination in September 2015.
The civil judges in their petition filed with Justice Qureshi have pleaded that the IHC administration should conduct the four sessions of the examination in two years instead of 10 months. The petition further said the civil judges were inducted in September 2012 whereas the departmental examination rules were introduced in May 2015 which could not be applied to the petitioners retrospectively.

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