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SC orders govt to appoint CEC within one month

20 February, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday warned the federal government to appoint the chief election commissioner (CEC) within a month or the court would issue the orders in this regard.

The court, while taking notice of non-appointment of a regular CEC, Federal Services Tribunals chairman and members sought a report from the government within a week in this regard.A two-member SC bench comprising Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Afzal Khan took up the case with reference to the appointment of Ghulam Rasul, an ISI Grade-16 employee, here on Wednesday.

Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked, "The government is not discharging its legal and constitutional obligations due to which regular officers have not been appointed so far against legal and constitutional posts."

He further observed, "For want of regular Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Justice Nasirul Mulk has to go to the Election Commission by leaving the most important cases of Supreme Court (SC). The appointment of acting CEC is temporary. A regular CEC has not been appointed for the last six months. Thousands of cases are pending owing to non induction of chairman and members in FST. Rush of cases has increased in high courts." He further remarked, "It is better the government should discharge its obligations or we will be forced to issue any order. The government should not create difficulties for us and for itself."

At the inception of the hearing, the Attorney General (AG) Suleman Butt, parliamentary secretary and others appeared before the court.Justice Saqib Nisar remarked, "Only you can deal with this matter. The FST is not functional as per the SC's 2013 decision. Several cases are pending hearing in high courts and this situation is alarming. It is said that the respective forum which the law has given is not there.

The tribunal does not exist under Article 212. Ascertain from the government when will these tribunals be constituted. When will the amendment be introduced in the Constitution? The government is not addressing several important legal matters. It causes embarrassment to us particularly. Fakharuddin G Ebrahim resigned from his office in August. Six months have passed but a regular CEC has not been appointed. The acting CEC is for a short period. We are giving one month's time to the government. Does the government want to discharge its legal and constitutional obligations or should we issue any order?"

The AG said that work had been started and the appointment would be made soon.Justice Saqib remarked, "Soon means too much time will be spent on it. We have talked on several constitutional violations. But this is the biggest violation. Give us the report and timeframe."

The AG said that the appointments were being made in line with the decision of Khawaja Asif case. It was the government's endeavour that such problems should not be created. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till March, 4.

End.

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