ISLAMABAD: The Federal Government is to pay the same salary and allowances to Chairman one man Commission of Inquiry on Broadsheet Award and other international cases, former Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, as he was drawing as judge of the Supreme Court (SC).
The government constituted and notified Sheikh Azmat Saeed as Chairman of one-man Commission under Section 3 of the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 2017 despite strong opposition by political opponents.
According to a summary of Cabinet Division, seen by this correspondent, Law & Justice Division requested for provision of salary and allowances to Justice (retd) Sheikh Azmat Saeed, equivalent to what he was drawing before his retirement as judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
According to the summary, Commissions constituted earlier were headed by serving officers, therefore, the issue of salary and allowances was not involved. Since this Commission is headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, hence, the matter of his salary and allowances needs to be sorted out.
The summary for the Prime Minister, being incharge of Cabinet Division, was routed through the Finance Division for views/comments, which are reproduced as follows: (i) Cabinet Division's Notification of January, 29, 2021 specified that the Commission has been constituted under Section (3) of the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 2017. The notification also empowers the Commission to constitute special teams consisting of officers from the executive, authorities and experts in any particular field; (ii) the Act ibid (Section 12) provides that each member including a judge shall be a public servant (Pakistan Penal Code). The Act has no provision regarding determination of the remuneration admissible to its members nor does it mention any authority empowered to decide it; (iii) as a general rule, remuneration of a Government servant is determined against the post to which he is appointed and the terms and conditions of his appointment. Establishment Division's O.M. No 10/52/95-R-2, of August 21, 2001 lays down the terms of contractual re-employment of the retired judges of the superior courts against civil posts; (ii) the retired judges of the Supreme Court and High Court have earlier been granted remuneration equivalent to their last drawn pay as a judge of the Superior Court in organisations whose governing laws allow the same against specific posts, such as Federal Ombudsman, Federal Tax Ombudsman etc. Similarly, in the case of contractual appointment to the post of Consultant Legal Affairs at the President's Secretariat, the incumbent who was a judge of the Supreme Court has been allowed to draw pay as admissible to a judge of the Supreme Court; (v) the nature, tenure and terms and conditions of the post of the Member/ Chairman and other experts to be hired for Commission of Inquiry on Broadsheet Award and other international cases, have not been spelled out in the summary.
Cabinet Division noted that keeping in view the precedents and comments of Finance Division the Prime Minister may like to approve the proposal in consultation with the Establishment Division and Finance Division.
Considering the request of Law and Justice Division, Cabinet Division has proposed that Justice (retd) Sheikh Azmat Saeed, a former Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, presently working as Member/Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry on Broadsheet Award and other International cases may be allowed to draw salary and allowances, during the tenure of the Commission, which he was drawing before his retirement.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021