KARACHI: Instead of the current Supreme Court, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has undertaken work to begin planning for the creation of supreme courts in all the provinces of the country, and under this proposal, every province’s supreme court would act as the supreme and final appellant court.
On the other side, under the agreed formulae of the Charter of Democracy (CoD), a federal constitutional court will be established in which all provinces will enjoy equal representation.
According to the 21-point document prepared by the PPP’s manifesto committee, the appointment of judges would take place as per the guidelines laid out in the CoD by the PPP and PML-N.
Under the recommendations of the manifesto committee, slots for the judges of the supreme judiciary would not be allowed to remain vacant. According to the 21st point of the document, it will be necessary to complete all phases of the appointment of a new judge to the apex court before the retirement of the every judge. Similarly, new judges will immediately occupy the chairs vacated by retiring judges.
In the three-page document prepared under the title of ‘Restructuring of the judicial model’, it was further said just like the Civil Service of Pakistan, a new model called the Judicial Service of Pakistan would be created. Inclusion in the Judicial Service would be based on merit vis-à-vis examinations and interviews. After being groomed within the judicial academy, candidates with law degrees would be eligible for basic-level judicial appointments.
According to the sixth point of the document, 13 types of courts would be established at the primary level including labour courts, family courts, human rights courts, banking courts, courts dealing with rent affairs, drug courts, consumer protection courts, anti-corruption courts, criminal courts, civil courts, reconciliation courts and anti-terrorism courts.
In the third point of the document, noted lawyers would be directly appointed as judges at the High Court level, as per the guidelines of the CoD.
The document’s fourth point explained that the retirement ages of judges of high courts would be brought on par with the retirement ages of Supreme Court judges — in other words the retirement age for judges at both levels would be 67.
The fifth point stipulated is that after retirement, the judges who were still receiving pensions and benefits would not be tasked with any other government responsibilities. Furthermore, the document would not play the role of a letterbox; rather, it would arrange a plan and proposal to decide which cases should be brought before the court.
The 12th point of the document pertained to the appointment of the prosecutor general.
Moreover, an inquiry branch would be set up with an inquiry officer, and at the time of this officer’s appointment it would have to be ensured that the candidate had a graduate law degree.
The 14th point of the document emphasised the need for forensic investigations, under which it would be mandatory for a forensic laboratory to be set up in every district.
The need for lie-detection machines was also stressed upon, as was the need for laws to protect case witnesses.