Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has taken suo moto notice over an application sent by Syed Adil Gilani, Adviser Transparency International-Pakistan, against the appointment of Salman Farooqui as federal ombudsman.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice will take up this matter today (Tuesday) along with the petition of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz senior leader Khawaja Muhammad Asif, who has already challenged the transfers and posting of senior officers by caretaker government. The SC has already issued notices to Salman Farooqui through Secretary Wafaqi Ombudsman and the applicant for today (Tuesday).

It is worth mentioning that the office of the federal ombudsman had been vacant since October 2010.

In the last week of PPP government’s tenure, President Asif Ali Zardari signed into law the Federal Ombudsmen Institutional Reforms Bill 2013, which further ensures expeditious disposal of complaints, streamlining the procedure for representation against the decisions of various mohtasibs, besides giving citizens the right to move a review petition against the findings of the ombudsman. Salman Farooqui was appointed as acting ombudsperson by former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in December 2012 and his service has been regularised on May 27.

Earlier, suspending all appointments, transfers/postings and shuffling of senior officials by the caretaker government, the Supreme Court on May 22 stopped it from any further action regarding new appointments, transfers and postings during its remaining tenure.

The court also refrained the interim government from appointing Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Khawaja Sadique Akbar as federal ombudsman.

The bench observed that it seemed that the caretakers had not followed due process for new appointments and the issue would be decided after hearing the respondents, the caretaker prime minister and establishment secretary. It, however, said that anyone aggrieved by this order may approach the court.

Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Irfan Qadir will furnish a written statement on behalf of the caretaker government over this petition today (Tuesday).