Sohail Khan/The NEWS
ISLAMABAD: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has requested the Supreme Court (SC) to suspend all the proceedings pending against it before the Supreme Appellate Court and the Chief Court, Gilgit-Baltistan, and restrain both the forums from further initiating and entertaining such cases/proceedings till final adjudication by the SC, adding that these are not courts of law as are given, provided and defined under the law and the Constitution of Pakistan 1973.
Mian Shafaqat Jan advocate filed the petition in the Supreme Court on behalf of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) under Article 184(3) of the constitution making the Supreme Appellate Court, Gilgit-Baltistan, through its Registrar, Supreme Appellate Court building, Gilgit, the Chief Court, Gilgit-Baltistan, through its Registrar, Chief Court building, Gilgit and Federation of Pakistan, through Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, through its Secretary, Islamabad as respondents.
The petitioner contended that all proceedings taken, orders passed, writs/directions issued, judgments delivered by the Supreme Appellate Court, GB, and/or the Chief Court, GB, against it, so far, are, therefore, coram non judice, without lawful authority and jurisdiction and against the law and Constitution.
It was contended that the petitioner (CAA) is a statutory body corporate, established by the Federal Government of Pakistan, pursuant to the provisions of section 3 of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority Ordinance, 1982 (the “Ordinance of 1982”) for carrying out the purposes of the Ordinance of 1982 and is responsible, under the said Ordinance, for the regulation and control of the civil aviation activities in the country.
Mian Shafaqat Jan informed the apex court that pursuant to the powers vested in it under the Ordinance of 1982, the Civil Aviation has established and is managing and operating two airports in the territories of Gilgit-Baltistan, one at Gilgit and the other one in Skardu.
He contended that administratively, the territories of GB are governed by the Federation through a Statutory Regulatory Order i.e. SRO No.786(1)2009 known as the Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self Governance Order, 2009 (the “GB Order, 2009”).
The CAA submitted that it is only through the aforesaid SRO i.e. the GB Order, 2009 that the Federation has established the Respondents, the Supreme Appellate Court building, Gilgit and the Chief Court, Gilgit-Baltistan) under the Chapter titled as “the Judicature”.
It clearly shows that the Chief Court, GB, (if it is a Court under the Constitution and law), has the jurisdiction, as conferred upon it under Article 71 of the GB Order, 2009, to issue writs/ directions only against the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan and/or a person performing functions in connection with the affairs of the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan and has no jurisdiction against the Petitioner or any other person/authority performing functions in connection with the affairs of the Federation of Pakistan or a local authority established by the Federation of Pakistan albeit it has its presence in the local limits of the territories of GB”, the CAA submitted.
It contended that all those persons/authorities/local bodies not performing functions in connection with the affairs of the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit-Baltistan and the Chief Court Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Petitioner submitted that both the forums entertaining petitions, conducting proceedings and issuing orders/directions/writs and judgments against it on various issues, including but not limited to suo motu proceedings (by the Supreme Appellate Court), petitions relating to the grievances of the employees of the Petitioner who are posted at and performing their services in the territories of GB i.e. the Gilgit airport and the Skardu airport.
The petitioner recalled that since the federation, the Government of Pakistan has issued and promulgated the GB Order, 2009 in the territories of GB, the Government of Pakistan has, in effect, acknowledged the territories of GB as the territories and part of Pakistan and, therefore, this august Court shall have every jurisdiction to exercise its jurisdiction under the Constitution with respect to the areas/territories of GB.