The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday reinstated Dr. Tariq Javed Banuri as Chairman of the Higher Education Commission, which is a significant move (HEC).
The high court, in a brief decision signed by Chief Justice IHC Athar Minallah and Justice Amir Farooq, declared Tariq Banuri’s dismissal as HEC chairman null and void and ordered his immediate reinstatement.
“The petition in hand is allowed for reasons to be recorded later. As a result, the contested notifications, dated 26.03.2021 and 05.04.2021, are deemed to have been issued without legitimate authority and in violation of the Higher Education Commission Ordinance, 2002, as modified. As a result, Respondent No. 6, Dr. Tariq Javed Banuri, is reinstated as Chairman of the Higher Education Commission,” said the court judgement.
Banuri was deposed by the government in March of last year, after a presidential order and changes to HEC rules and regulations.
The decision came after the Cabinet Committee for the Disposition of Legislative Cases (CCLC) approved a new ordinance that lowered the HEC Chairman’s term to two years.
His removal was verified by an Establishment Division notification dated March 26, 2021.
“Dr. Tariq Bannri has ceased to be the Chairperson in accordance with sub-section (5), read with sub-section (5A), of Section 6 of the Higher Education Commission Ordinance, 2002, as amended by the Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021. “With immediate effect, he is dismissed from the said post by the Higher Education Commission,” the notification stated.
Dr. Tariq, who was dissatisfied with the ruling, filed a lawsuit against the government at the Islamabad High Court.
Dr. Banuri claimed in his appeal that the government’s action was illegal and in violation of the Higher Education Commission Ordinance, 2002.
On June 2, 2021, the ICH Chief Justice heard Banuri’s petition and blocked the government from appointing a permanent HEC chair until the outcome of his case was known.