The Senate chairman summoned on Tuesday the attorney general to respond to questions of the inquisitive members of the Upper House.
Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari took the decision after Minister for Law and Justice Parvaiz Rashid informed the house that “the Supreme Court has not responded to six letters of the ministry” over the subject.
Attorney General Salman Akram Butt is expected to attend the Senate proceedings, here tomorrow (on Wednesday).
Though the SC has yet to disclose information, the minister is said to have learnt “verbally” that former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is driving a 6,000cc bulletproof Mercedes Benz (GD-0341 of the Cabinet Division) in pursuance to a judgment of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in January 2014, and the law ministry was bearing expenditures of fuel and maintenance.
In response to a question of Senator Saeed Ghani from the Pakistan Peoples Party, the minister said that since January 30, 2014, as much as 4,689 litres of petrol has been issued to the former CJP’s car, while a repair estimate of Rs3,375,029 has been presented to a law division for which funds through a special grant are required from the finance division.
He said an intra-court appeal (ICA) has been filed, but despite applications of an early hearing, it is still pending.
The reply ignited a debate in the house with members showing concern over the SC’s reluctance to share information and some raising doubts over the superiority of Parliament.
During the course of the discussion, Bokhari referred to Article 205 [fifth schedule] of the Constitution, regarding remuneration of judges, and questioned whether rules have been amended to provide a bulletproof car to the former CJP.
“We have not asked anything secret. The Constitution allows us have this information. Is the SC Registrar not bound to provide relevant information to the House?” asked Senator Ghani. Further, Senator Zahid Khan questioned whether the Supreme Court is above Parliament.
Afterwards, the chairman asked Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House Aitzaz Ahsan and Senators Rafiq Rajwana and Babar Awan to assist the house over the issue [of when the AG will appear].
Read: Senate’s top posts: Nawaz to woo political outfits
However, the law minister said the government would agree with whatever decision is taken by the Senate.
Perks of chief justices
According to details, the number of retired CJPs since 1985 is 12. The CJP, on his retirement, is entitled to the minimum amount of the pension, equal to 70% of the salary determined by the president from time to time, plus, 5% for each completed year of service either as the CJP, or as a judge — not exceeding the minimum amount of pension equal to 85% of the said salary.
The CJP is also entitled to a driver and an orderly; 3,000 free local calls per month; 2,000 units of electricity; 25 hm gas per month and a free supply of water. In terms of vehicles, they are also entitled to 300 litres of petrol per month; purchase of official vehicle of 1,800cc at depreciated value, while no income tax shall be payable in respect of benefits and perquisites to which a judge or a widow as the case may be, is entitled.
Senate seeks details of perks and privileges of retired CJP. Reviewed by Sarah Peracha on 11:15:00 PM Rating: