ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Thursday discussed mode for the appointment of superior court judges. The Constitutional Amendment Bill regarding appointment...
ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Thursday discussed mode for the appointment of superior court judges. The Constitutional Amendment Bill regarding appointment of judges was debated at length before the Senate Law & Justice Committee headed by Barrister Syed Ali Zafar.
Barrister Ali Zafar began the debate by stating that in order to ensure the independence of judiciary, Barrister Ali Zafar stated that the two most important items in the appointment and removal of judges must be done transparently. Zafar pointed out that the recent meeting of the Judicial Commission also showed that there was a need to maintain balance so that in the matter of appointment of judge. Regarding the amendments, he pointed out that instead of 5 Judges being part of the Judicial Committee there would now be 4 Judges, including the Chief Justice of Pakistan, while the remaining three would be represented by the Law Minister, Attorney General of Pakistan and a representative from the Pakistan Bar Council. In this manner the majority of the Judicial Commission will still remain with the Judges but the Judicial Committee would also have an equal say in the process.
Barrister Ali Zafar stated that that the second part related to re-empowering the Parliamentary Committee and it was decided that the Parliamentary Committee may accept or reject the nominations and that its decision shall not be subject to challenge in the Supreme Court or a High Court.
In this manner, there would be a two-layered process to ensure that the best person is appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Judiciary. The amendment also proposed that there would be an Initiation Committee which would nominate the Judges of the High Courts for consideration by the Judicial Committee and the Parliamentary Committee. Barrister Ali Zafar opposed this Initiation Committee by stating that the matter of nomination should be left to the discretion of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the relevant Judges of the High Courts because their nominations can be considered or rejected first by the Judicial Committee and then by the Parliamentary Committee and there was no need to add a third-tier which would only complicate the matter.
However, after deliberation, the Committee decided to approve the amendment pertaining to Initiation Committee. Resultantly, Article 175A of the Constitution stands amended so that the constitution of the Judicial Commission has been changed, Parliamentary Committee has been empowered and a new Committee called the “Initiation Committee” has been formed which shall nominate the Judges to the High Courts. The amendment also suggested that decisions of the Initiation Committee, Judicial Commission and Parliamentary Committee must be made within fixed timeframe.
Meanwhile, National Accountability Chairman (NAB) Aftab Sultan explained that the owners of Eden had entered into a plea bargain of PKR 16 billion and all the claimants shall be satisfied, including the ones who have filed the petition. The Committee was satisfied with the explanation of Chairman NAB and thanked him.