Islamabad: January 18, 2022- The Islamabad High Court (HEC) Tuesday restored Dr Tariq Banuri as chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC).

The short and reserved verdict was announced by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq. The court also declared the notification regarding dismissal of Tariq Javed Banuri as illegal.

The petition was filed against the promulgation of HEC Ordinance that reduced the term of chairman from four to two years and ‘curbed’ its autonomy by a number of eminent academicians, right activists and scholars including Javed Jabbar, Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, Mosharraf Ali Zaidi, Prof Dr M. Asif Khan, Syed Ahmed Masood, Prof Dr A. H. Nayyar, Prof Dr Naazish Attaullah, Prof Salima Hashmi, Khawar Mumtaz, Dr Rubina Saigol, former Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman Abid Hussain Saqi, Karamat Ali, Nazim Fida Hussain Haji, Prof Dr Syed Tipu Sultan and Mohammad Tahseen.

According to the petition, it was a settled principle that laws should be saved through the process of interpretation including the principle of reading down especially if reading of the statutory text leads to violation of fundamental rights including the right of non-discrimination. Even if the interpretation is accepted, it is in contradiction of Article 25 of the Constitution.

The petition stated that the Ordinance did not lead to the conclusion that it took away the vested rights of the former HEC chief, adding that the government authorities misinterpreted the law and curtailed the tenure of Banuri from four to two years.

On March 27 last, the government had reduced the service tenure of Tariq Javed Banuri to two years through an HEC amended Ordinance 2021, from four years through an ordinance.