CJ takes notice of CDA’s chairman transfer; Issues notices to Cabinet and Interior Secretary for today

ISLAMABAD: Taking suo moto notice of the transfer of Capital Development Authority CDA Chairman Syed Tahir Shahbaz by the PPP government before its departure on Saturday, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry issued notices to the Cabinet and Interior secretaries as well transferred and newly posted chairman of the civic agency Syed Tahir Shahbaz and Tariq Pirzada respectively.

A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan has been constituted to hear the matter today Monday. The Chief Justice directed the Cabinet and the Interior Secretary to appear before the court today Monday and produce notifications and summaries in respect of this transfer and posting and intimate as to why these notifications of premature transfer, which are prima facie violative of the judgment of the apex court, be not set aside. Tahir Shahbaz and Tariq Pirzada the former and the incumbent Chairmen, CDA have also been summoned.

The action was taken on a note initiated by the Registrar office based on press clippings of different newspapers containing the details that before departure, the PPP government sent packing the chairman of the Capital Development Authority CDA on Saturday. He was sacked for resisting allotting choice plots in choice sectors of Islamabad to many key bureaucrats.

It was further reported that the one major reason for the government’s annoyance with reputed Tahir Shahbaz was the latter’s recent reply to a Supreme Court’s query that is likely to seal the fate of an influential politician.

Tahir Shahbaz appointed as Chairman CDA only five months back in October 2012, was supposed to keep a mum like obedient government servant but he did not do that. Consequently, the officer was removed abruptly on the last day of government’s departure and without assigning any reason.

This abrupt transfer of Tahir Shahbaz is a violation of the Supreme Court’s November 12, 2012 judgment. The Supreme Court had provided the much needed protection to the government servants from whimsical and arbitrary postings and transfers by directing the federal and provincial governments that they must respect the tenure of an officer against a post and that no government servant should be prematurely transferred without giving reasons in writings.

However, despite clear directions, Tahir Shahbaz was prematurely removed. The note also quoted the judgment of November 12, 2012 passed in Const. Petition 23/2012 petition by Ms Anita Turab for protection of civil servants authored by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, wherein it was held as under:

“22. i Appointments, Removals and Promotions: Appointments, removals and promotions must be made in accordance with the law and the rules made thereunder; where no such law or rule exists and the matter has been left to discretion, such discretion must be exercised in a structured, transparent and reasonable manner and in the public interest.”

After going through the contents of the note, the Chief Justice passed the following order: “Let these news clippings be registered as CMA in Constitution Petition No.23/2012 petition by Ms. Anita Turab for protection of civil servants and fixed before the bench headed by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja the author judge of the said judgment on March 18, 2013.