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5 years on, SC High Council short of three members

13 Jul 2021 - 13:55
13 Jul 2021 - 13:55

KABUL (Pajhwok): Legal experts have been critical of the shortage of three members of the Supreme Court’s High Council for the last five years. Some of them blame the Presidential Palace while others hit out at the Supreme Court for the anomaly.

Article 117 of the Constitution says: “The Supreme Court shall be comprised of nine members, appointed by the president and with the endorsement of the Wolesi Jirga. Three members for a period of four years, three for seven years and three for 10 years. The president shall appoint one of its members as chief justice of the Supreme Court.”

But the apex court has been short of three members for nearly five years in violation of the relevant law.

Sayed Yousuf Halim is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court while Mohammad Zaman Sangari, Abdul Haseeb Ahmadi, Barat Ali Matin, Abdul Qadir Adalatkhwa and Abdul Malik Kamawi are members of the High Council.

Ahmad Fahim Qawim, spokesman for the Supreme Court, told Pajhwok Afghan News the president was authorised to nominate three new members, who would assume office after winning a trust vote from the Wolesi Jirga.

In July 2018, President Ashraf Ghani referred three individuals (Anisa Rassouli, Abdul Shakoor Mahjoor and Abdullah Attaee) as nominees for the Supreme Court’s High Council to the Wolesi Jirga for the vote of confidence.

But Qawim said he had no information about the introduction of the three members.

Gul Rahman Qazi, former head of the Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of the Constitution, slammed the shortage of the Supreme Court Council members as a violation of the Constitution.

He said: “Each member of the Supreme Court has a responsibility a section and if the council remains incomplete, the backlog of cases will increase. When cases are not addressed in time, the law is flouted.”

Qazi also held the Supreme Court responsible for floating proposals to the Presidential Palace to introduce the remaining members. He said this in response to the query as to who was responsible for the incomplete council.

Khan Agha Rezaee, a member of the Wolesi Jirga, blamed Ghani, recalling the president had referred Anisa Rassouli, Abdul Shakoor Mahjoor and Abdullah Attaee in 2018 to the lower house for a vote of confidence.

He went on to accuse the president of reversing his decision and said the vote of confidence proceedings had not happened yet.

Regarding the reversal of the decision, he said: “It amounts to a mockery of people’s personalities …. How long will the government act against the law? The incomplete strength of the Supreme Court runs counter to the Constitution.

“Currently there are six members and an incomplete council does not have the decision-making authority. The government itself does not want to nominate the three members. Once the council strength is complete, the apex court will become independent,” he remarked.

Article 26 of the Law on the Composition and Powers of the Judiciary says: “The strength of the Supreme Court is met in the presence of two-thirds of members and can be decided by a majority of the members present.”

Qazi Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, head of the Wolesi Jirga’s Legislative Commission, also asked the Supreme Court to recommend competent candidates to the Presidential Palace to complete the strength of the High Council.

Asked why the president had not introduced the three members in nearly five years, he replied: “This man (president) has a kind of dictatorship in terms of action and opinion. He does whatever he wants. Such actions will push the country into chaos.”

Pajhwok asked the media office at the Presidential Palace about the fate of the three nominees previously referred to the Wolesi Jirga, but there has been no response yet to the query.

Dawa Khan Minapal, head of the Government Media and Information Centre, said nothing about the shortage of the three members of the apex court council.

He, however, promised the president would soon nominate the three members and introduce heads for the departments that were currently being run by acting chiefs to the Wolesi Jirga.

sa/mud

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