Fact-check: What are the salaries, benefits of the Supreme Court judges?
In addition to salaries, the judges of the Supreme Court are entitled to medical, travel and daily allowances, vehicles, a superior judicial allowance and house rent
Updated Tuesday Apr 04 2023
Multiple social media accounts allege that a judge of the top court of Pakistan earns over Rs1.7 million per month, including benefits.
The claim is true.
A judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan receives a monthly pay of Rs1.8 million, claimed a Twitter user on January 27.
The user further provided a breakdown, which he alleged included 800,000 in salary, 370,000 in house rent, two luxury vehicles, two drivers, 600 litres of petrol, a daily travelling allowance of 5,000 and discounted plane tickets.
“While Pakistan is at number 139 in the world ranking” of the rule of law index.
Similar claims were made by other online users that a judge takes home roughly Rs1.6 million per month.
It is true, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan at present earns a monthly salary of over Rs1.7 million, including perks and privileges.
A senior official at the ministry of law and justice told Geo Fact Check over the phone, on the condition of anonymity, that the chief justice takes home Rs1,024,324 per month, while each judge of the top court receives Rs967,638.
“These salaries are applicable from July 2021 and are the same at present,” he went on.
Separately, the judges of the Supreme Court, including the chief justice, are also entitled to a monthly Superior Judicial Allowance of Rs428,040, the official told Geo Fact Check.
Other monthly perks include 600 litres of petrol and two 1,800cc chauffeur-driven vehicles for a judge, while the chief justice is allotted a 2,400cc vehicle. Then there is Rs68,000 for house rent and Rs8,000 daily travel allowance if they go out of the city.
Another official, privy to the information, who also did not want to be named, confirmed that a judge of the Supreme Court is paid a sum of Rs69,035 per month for medical. However, none of the officials could confirm the exact amount disbursed for electricity and telephone to a judge.
Thus the salary and benefits add up to roughly over Rs1.7 million per month.
As per the President’s Order No 2 1997, which deals with the apex court judges' leave, pension and privileges, the house rent, car allowance, superior judicial allowance and cost of living allowance will not be taxed.
Geo Fact Check also sent a written questionnaire to the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) to confirm the information.
In response, the Accounts Officer of the Legal-II Section of the AGPR wrote back that Geo Fact Check should contact the Supreme Court of Pakistan instead.
While on the phone, an official of the AGPR said that this information “was privileged” and cannot be provided by the AGPR, adding that the ministry of finance may be able to provide the needful.
When the ministry of finance was contacted, it referred Geo Fact Check back to the ministry of law and justice.
Geo Fact Check also wrote to the registrar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. It received a written response from the Court’s assistant registrar on April 5, which stated that the request for information under the Right of Information Act 2017, regarding the judges salaries and perks, could not be entertained.
He added that only information and records held by a “public body” are accessible under the Act 2017.
“Although the definition of ‘public body’ is very exhaustive in the Act 2017, yet the legislature in its wisdom did not include this Court within the fold of the said definition and excluded it from the purview of the Act,” the assistant registrar wrote, with the approval of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
Update: A response from the Assistant Registrar was received after the publication of the article on April 10. The response was later added to an updated version of the article.
Reporting by Binyameen Iqbal.
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