ISLAMABAD - Showing extreme restraint, the Supreme Court Thursday abstained from issuing contempt notice to the competent authority in transfer of secretary Civil Aviation Division in violation of its judgment in the Anita Turab case.
Muhammad Ali Gardezi, a BS-22 officer, was appointed secretary Civil Aviation Division in July 2013 when the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was separated from the Ministry of Defence. He was transferred to Inter-Provincial Coordination Ministry on September 10, 2013.
The court in Anita Turab case had said that the ordinary tenure for a posting [3 years] has been specified in the law or rules made thereunder, such tenure must be respected and cannot be varied, except for compelling reasons, which should be recorded in writing and are judicially reviewable. In the transfer of Gardezi no cogent reason has been given.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heading a three-judge bench, which heard irregularities in construction of New Benazir Bhutto International Airport, expressed annoyance over the transfer of Mohammad Ali Gardezi, who has been appointed secretary Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination.
The chief justice said: “Prima facie the judgment has been violated.” “No one should undermine the judgments of apex court and they should be implemented,” he added. The court asked the attorney general to tell whom the contempt notice be issued.
Attorney General Munir A Malik said: “Let me take some more instruction.” The court on his request stopped the proceedings for half an hour. After the break the attorney general came to the rostrum along with Additional Attorney General Shah Khawar and said: “We appreciate the restraint shown by the court.” The AG said that he had taken up the matter with the highups and prayed to adjourn it till today.
He assured the bench that the matter would be settled in accordance with law.
The court noted that no compelling reason was given for the transfer of Mohammad Gardezi in the summary, which actually is not a summary, sent to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In the letter of Principal Secretary to PM Nasir Khosa the name of Gardezi was not mentioned, but abruptly it appeared and Gardezi was transferred to IPC Ministry. The chief justice said that the prime minister should have probed this matter.
The secretary Establishment Division should have thought about other officer. Justice Jawwad said that among around 2500 BS-21 and 22 bureaucrats the government could not find any other officer except Muhammad Ali Gardezi for the appointment as secretary IPCC.
The chief justice said that Gardezi was transferred as he wrote a letter to the prime minister that Federal Investigative Agency should be directed to investigate the irregularities in the construction of New Benazir Bhutto Airport. Gardezi had written a letter on 18th August and on 10th September he was transferred to Ministry of IPC, the court observed. “No compelling reason was recorded, as per the Anita Turab judgment, to transfer Gardezi,” the CJP said.
The attorney general pleaded that the transfer was made in the public interest. “There was and there will not be any intent to violate the apex court judgments,” he said.
The bench said though the government had decided to refer the new airport scam to FIA, but it had not specifically pinpointed the persons against whom the action should be taken.
Earlier, AAG Shah Khawar informed that Civil Aviation Authority was one of the attached department of Defence Ministry. Subsequently the CAA was separated from Defence Ministry and an independent Ministry was created and Muhammad Ali Gardezi was appointed its secretary. Now he has been transferred and Nargis Sethi is given additional charge of it.
He also told that the incumbent government had constituted a five-member monitoring committee, headed by vice-chief Air Staff.
The committee would meet and submit cost-over-report fortnightly. The case is adjourned till today.