SC petitioned against alleged abuse of discretionary powers by high court CJs

  • Advocate Mian Dawood says CJs allegedly benefit individuals close to them near their retirement

LAHORE: A petition was filed in the Supreme Court Lahore Registry on Friday, challenging the discretionary powers wielded by the chief justices of the country’s five high courts. These powers, it is alleged, have been exploited to benefit individuals close to the justices near their retirement, resulting in significant losses to the national exchequer.

The petitioner, advocate Mian Dawood, has urged the highest court in the land to ensure that the same principles and legal standards applied to other institutions are enforced within the judiciary.

The petition names the chief secretaries of the four provinces and the registrars of the five high courts –Lahore, Peshawar, Sindh, Balochistan, and Islamabad – as respondents.

Dawood highlighted a range of concerns, including corrupt practices, nepotism, and unconstitutional actions allegedly taken by high court chief justices under the guise of exercising their discretionary powers before retirement.

Specifically, Dawood cited the case of former Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, alleging that numerous notifications were issued during his tenure to benefit his associates. Dawood asserts that promotions, salary increases, transfers, extended leaves, and other perks were granted in contravention of established rules and administrative policies.

Furthermore, Dawood alleged that former CJ Bhatti interfered with disciplinary actions against employees, even suspending punishments against those under inquiry or appealing before service tribunals, effectively rendering these tribunals inactive.

Among the examples cited, Dawood noted instances where advance increments were granted to several employees, including the former CJ’s principal secretary and registrar, without justification. Additionally, study leaves with pay were purportedly granted without proper legal basis, including to the CJ’s court associate and the spouse of a senior civil judge.

The petitioner called upon the court to regulate the discretionary powers of high court chief justices to prevent such alleged abuses, advocating for transparency and adherence to legal standards.

Finally, Dawood requested the court to annul all notifications issued by former LHC CJ Bhatti during the final month of his tenure to mitigate potential losses to the national treasury.

All amounts given in the garb of increments be recovered and deposited in national exchequer, those whom were granted study leaves be cancelled and set aside those orders following which the punishments of the officials had been suspended, he implored the apex court.


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