Judges recommended by judiciary to hear appeals, head tribunals

KARACHi: A divisional bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan on Wednesday declined to hear the law points pertaining to jurisdiction and powers enjoyed by Custom Officers and appellate authorities.

The points and legal challenge was raised after a recent judgment of Supreme Court of Pakistan which held that only members and chairman of appellate tribunals recommended by  respective High Courts can sit on appellate benches

The bench refusing a hearing appointed the counsel for petitioner to assist the court as “Amicus Curiae”.

We will not allow you to jump the forum, the bench said rejecting a plea to stop the custom officials from adjudicating in a smuggled oil and oil tanker seizure case. No person can be the judge of his own cause, the counsel for petitioner said questioning the moral and legal authority of Custom officials to adjudicate case as judges.

Your remedy lies before the tribunal and then before a High Court, the bench observed. If your arguments are accepted it would mean that entire, hierarchy of the department is scrapped.

You will find a judge at tribunal recommended by us (SHC) and in case of any grievance, and then this bench would be available to hear you, the bench said.

As the counsel for petitioner pressed the bench for an order declaring the Custom Officers barred from adjudicating cases in view of the judgment by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the bench ordered him to appear as Amicus Curiae in an identical petition.

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