Empowerment of local judiciary
June 03, 2011
Finally, as the lower and upper judiciary has adopted its first ever "The Islamabad Judicial Service Rules 2011", in the end of May, the Islamabad district courts that remained a subordinate to the Lahore High Court (LHC) for over five decades now fell in the administrative control of Islamabad High Court. Islamabad has now become a territorial jurisdiction of Islamabad High Court where as the capital remained territorial jurisdiction of LHC since establishment of the city and all legal, financial and administrative affairs of the district courts were managed by the Lahore High Court (LHC). The LHC was also managed the appointments of district and session judge as well as other judges and magistrates were done by the LHC as till the adoption of the Service Rules Islamabad was under the territorial jurisdiction of LHC. After adoption of Judicial Service Rules, the judiciary of capital city has now become sovereign with all respects. Contrary to the existing strength of lower judiciary from Punjab that is less than 50, the upcoming federal lower judiciary's strength would be more than 500. For the first time in history of the capital 50 per cent posts of judicial officers of the district court will be filled by Islamabad
based lawyers, 12 per cent posts have been allocated for each of the four provinces and remaining 2 per cent seats of judicial officers will be filled by the nominees of Federally Administrative Tribal Area (FATA). According to the Judicial Rules, new induction of judicial officers for the lower judiciary will be done by the Chief Justice IHC or his nominee through a board. Sub section (1) of section 5 of Part III of the service rules said,” All the appointment to the service shall be made by the Chief Justice on the recommendations of Administrative Committee or the board who shall be the appointing Authority under these rules. Part IV of the service rules narrates the procedure for “first time appointments”, sub section (2) of section 6 said “ for the first time appointments to the service, the Board shall recommend suitable persons from amongst the present members of all provincial judicial
services and that of FATA, who opt or apply to be appointed in the service through their respective High Courts and in case of FATA as determined by the Chief Justice”.
Sub section (7) of section 6 said the interview (of candidates) shall be of 100 marks for all the posts and passing marks shall be 50 or as determined by the Chief Justice from time to time. Regarding eligibility for the forthcoming appointments of judicial officers, section 7 of the rules said ‘no candidate shall be qualified for the post of district and sessions judge unless he is a district and session judge in a provincial judicial service”, for the additional district and session judge eligibility the rules added four years service in the same capacity in a provincial judicial service. With regards to recruitment and appointment Part V of the service rule said, “ recruitment to a post of civil judge-cum-magistrate shall be made on the recommendations of the Board, with the approval of the Chief Justice or his nominee, based on the result of a competitive examination’, however, appointment to the post of senior civil judge-cum-magistrate shall be made on seniority-cum-merit basis from amongst the civil judges-cum-magistrates by the High Court on the recommendations of Departmental Promotion Committee. The judicial service rules also elaborated procedure for initial recruitments of civil judges-cum-magistrates and additional district and session judges.
According to sub section (2) of section 11 “the Board shall scrutinize the applications received in pursuance of circulation and publications received in pursuance of circulation and publication of advertisements in the news papers hold a written examination, as determined by it, for judging the suitability of the candidates”. The Part VII of the service rules pointed out the disqualifications of the candidates, a candidate having citizen of other than Pakistan will not be qualified for the post of judicial officer, the rules specified minimum age for civil judge-cum-magistrate as 20 years and maximum 30 years.
However, for the post of additional district and session judge, the age limit has been fixed between 35 to 45 years. Meanwhile, the city administration also separated Islamabad int two separate division. The Chief Commissioner notification of May 24 said that “ the Chief Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory, is pleased to divide the area of the Islamabad Capital Territory into two sessions divisions in terms of section 6 (4) of the Islamabad High Court Act 2010”. However, on directions of Islamabad High Court (IHC) the district administration also agreed to further amend the notification by inserting a section 4 of Civil Court Ordinance and instead of dividing the city into two session has divided the city into two district and session divisions The section 6 (4) of the Act by which the city has been divided into two session said “there shall be two sessions divisions in the Islamabad Capital Territory with suc territorial limits as may be determined in this behalf by notification in the official Gazette”. While, section 4 of civil court ordinance said “for the purpose of this ordinance government may by notification (for notification dividing the province into civil districts) divide the province into civil districts, fix the limits of such districts and determine the headquarters of each such district.” (territorial limits and headquarters)
It is pertinent to mention that in accordance with the notification Islamabad has been divided into two separate divisions namely Islamabad West and Islamabad East. Islamabad West includes all sectors, all municipal limits, union council Shah Allah Ditta, Saidpur, Noor Pur Shahan and areas falling on western side of the Murree Road startinf from Faizabad and leadin towards Bharakau. While, Islamabad East includes 11 union councils i.e. Sihala, Koral, Terlai, Bharakau, Kirpa, Chirah, Sohan, Kurri, Tumair, & Phulgran including villages Ojri and Malpur. The current divisions of the city is pointing out that in future the Capital city of Islamabad may be turned into Islamabad Province. The Islamabad based law makers like Syed Zafar Ali Shah and Dr. Babar awan are the staunch supporters of this notion. In the Islamabad High court Act 2010, the clause regarding separation of Islamabad into two sessions was also inserted by the directions of Awan, who at that time was heading the Law Ministry.