ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday restrained the Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) from passing further orders related to the GB constitutional position and the tenure and pension of GB Appellate Court.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan conducted hearing of the federal government petition regarding the Supreme Appellate Court GB chief judge and the judge’s pension and pensionary benefits.

The SC order stated that the notification related to the tenure of the chief judge and the judge of the GB Appellate Court would be subject to the apex court final verdict.

Justice Ijaz noted that explanation on some of the constitutional questions is necessary i.e. whether the GB Appellate Court could direct the President of Pakistan; whether the federation can file petition against the GB Appellate Court under Article 184 (3) of Constitution; whether GB Court’s status as per 2018 Presidential Order is constitutional court or not? Whether the judges of Gilgit-Baltistan Appellate Court by passing order dated 28-03-22 for their own benefit is not contrary to the interest of justice.

Additional Attorney General said that the GB Appellate Court Chief Judge is retiring on May 6, this year. He further said that the GB Court has prevented the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs from passing any notification regarding their tenure.

Advocate Iftikhar Gilani argued that the mess is created due to non implementation of the Supreme Court 2019 judgment. The case was adjourned for one month.

GB constitutional position, tenure and pension of GB Appellate Court

Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit-Baltistan on 25-01-22 and 10-02-22 declared by interpretation that the provisions of government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 to the extent of tenure and pension/pensionary benefits of chief judge and judge of the GB Court are already in consonance with the proposed Reforms 2019.

The declarations were that the sitting chief judge and the judge of the Supreme Appellate Court shall continue to hold office till superannuation and not on the expiry of three years period, which is minimum term and not maximum. Secondly, the sitting chief judge and the judge of the Supreme Appellate Court shall be entitled to pension and other allied pensionary benefits.

The Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit-Baltistan on 28-03-22 passed an order that if any future legislation is made through any mode of legislation, the spirit of judgement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Civil Aviation case and Reforms 2019 shall be adhered to. The relevant provision are Article 82 (4)(9) read with Article 84(5) in the Reforms 2019 which provides that sitting chief judge and judge shall continue to hold office under new order with remuneration and other terms and conditions as are admissible to Chief Justice of Pakistan and judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The GB Appellate Court also directed the federation through Secretary Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and the Gilgit-Baltistan and the GB provincial government to honour all the orders of the Appellate Court specifically dated 25-01-2022 and 10-02-2022 and no fresh appointments of chief judge/judge of this court shall be initiated/processed or made before reaching the age of superannuation and the chief judge/judge shall also be entitled for pension/allied pensionary benefit as interpreted in the two orders.