Pakistan News

AGP loses legal battle to get stalled salary released

AGP loses legal battle to get stalled salary released

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) Akhtar Buland Rana seeking the release of his salary and other service-related benefits.

After hearing the arguments of the petitioner and the federal government, Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi had on Monday reserved the judgment, which was announced on Tuesday.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly last year directed the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) to stop the salary of Mr Rana and referred a reference against him to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for alleged misuse of authority. Under Article 209 of the Constitution, the SJC is the only forum to determine the conduct of the AGP.

While the matter was pending adjudication before the SJC, the AGPR stopped the salary. As a result, the AGP approached the IHC.

Saeed Khurshid, the counsel for Mr Rana, contended before the court that under Article 81and 82, which were related to the financial expenditures of the AGP office, the PAC cannot send a reference against the AGP to the SJC.

He said the controller general of accounts and the AGPR may be restrained from recovering the salaries paid to the AGP merely upon the unauthorised recommendation of the PAC until the matter was decided by the SJC.

The petitioner cited the secretary Establishment Division, secretary finance, controller general of accounts (CGA), AGPR, chairman PAC and the secretary National Assembly as the respondents.

The petition contended that the service terms and conditions of the AGP were governed by the “Auditor general’s functions, powers terms and conditions of service ordinance 2001.”

Disciplinary proceedings against the alleged misconduct of the petitioner can only be initiated by the SJC under Article 209 of the Constitution. The AGP is a tenure post of four years and the petitioner is not in the administrative control of the executive.

The petition added that the PAC was not the competent forum to conduct any inquiry into the remunerations of the petitioner keeping in view the bar contained in Article 81 and 82.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2015

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