Presidential decree on judges’ tenure rejected
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Wolesi Jirga --- lower house of parliament --- on Monday rejected by a majority vote a presidential legislative decree extending tenure of judges by a decade beyond the retirement age limit of 65 years.
The house last year amended the law on composition and powers of the judiciary, barring judges from working after attaining the age of 65 years.
The law, having nine chapters and 110 articles, had been submitted by the Ministry of Justice to the assembly’s commission concerned in March 2010.
At that time, lawmakers had opposed the original draft that said a judge could work according to his/her ability for 10 years after reaching the age of 65. They amended it and said a judge could not continue his/her job after reaching 65 years of age.
At today’s session, Abdul Rauf Inami, deputy head of the house commission on judicial affairs, told the assembly the presidential legislative decree allowed judges with ability to function to continue in office for another 10 years beyond the retirement age limit of 65 years.
He said the decree had been issued at a time when the lower house had risen for its recess. He said the house commissions had debated the decree and only the environment protection commission had favoured it.
The environment protection panel member, Obaidullah Ramin, said his commission had approved the presidential decree because learned jurists were more sharp and effective in dealing cases than their juniors.
But Mohammad Sarwar Usmani, the judicial commission member, said the public was unhappy with the performance of the judiciary. He said junior judges should be elevated to higher positions and jobless graduates given a chance to serve.
Of 132 MPs present, 125 voted to reject the presidential legislative decree. The decision will be sent to the Meshrano Jirga, the upper house, for approval.
Under Article 79 of the constitution: “During the recess of the House of Representatives, the government shall, in case of an immediate need, issue legislative decrees, except in matters related to budget and financial affairs…”
Legislative decrees, after their endorsement by the president, have to be presented to the National Assembly within 30 days of its first session. If rejected by the National Assembly, they become void.
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