ISLAMABAD–The Senate on Tuesday adjourned a resolution calling for withdrawal of additional perks and privileges from former Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, after both the leader of the House and leader of opposition said the matter was sub judice.
The resolution was moved by Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Farhatullah Babar and signed by six senators including Haji Adeel of Awami National Party, Haji Ghulam Ali of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl), Syed Tahir Mashhadi of Muttahidda Qaumi Movement, Hidayatullah from Fata and Abdul Rauf from Pukhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party.
“This House expresses serious concern that a former CJP is availing fringe benefits over and above those admissible under the rules. It believes that such discrimination in availing extra fringe benefits by only one former CJP to the exclusion of other former CJPs and judges militates against the prestige of the judiciary,” said the resolution.
Earlier, the Senate was informed that the Cabinet Division was bearing the fuel and maintenance costs of a 6,000cc bulletproof car being used by former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.
In a written reply, the law ministry told the House that the former chief justice was availing the facility in addition to his entitlement, ordered by the Islamabad High Court on January 15, 2014.
The resolution submitted on Tuesday read: “This House therefore calls for a review of the discriminatory decision of allowing additional perks to the former CJP and for taking appropriate steps to withdraw the same from him and recover the amount spent on it from the beneficiary — the former CJP.”
Details further revealed that the Upper House also calls for summoning the former CJP before the appropriate committee of the House to explain the reasons for availing discriminatory post-retirement benefits over and above those allowed under the Rules.
The House was earlier told that since January 30, 2014, as much as 4,689 litres of petrol had been issued for the Mercedes Benz car being used by the ex-chief justice.
A repair estimate exceeding Rs3.3 million had also been presented to the Law Division, for which funds through a special grant were required from the Finance Division.
Speaking about the resolution, Senator Farhatullah Babar said the government should have either challenged the court order or amended the rules to cancel additional perks for the former CJP. “But the government failed to do so, resulting in discrimination in awarding additional perks to only one chief justice among several other retired chief justices.”
He said that after uproar in the Parliament, the former CJP should have himself volunteered to give up the additional perks for the sake of his own dignity and the prestige of the judiciary.
Senator Farhatullah Babar said, “It was unfortunate that on the one hand the former CJP was sticking stubbornly to the extra perks and on the other the government failed to amend the relevant laws to create a non-discriminatory regime.”
The Senator then staged a token walkout against what he said was the government’s failure to address the issue within the ambit of the law. Several lawmakers from various parties also joined him in the token walkout.
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