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Tuesday July 23, 2024

JCP recommends elevation of 3 judges to SC

Names of Lahore and Sindh high courts' chief justices as well as LHC's Justice Shahid Bilal recommended, say sources

By Bureau report & Sohail Khan
June 08, 2024
(Left to right) LHC Justices Shahid Bilal, Chief Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad and Sindh High Court Chief Justice Aqeel Abbasi. — LHC website/APP/File
(Left to right) LHC Justices Shahid Bilal, Chief Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad and Sindh High Court Chief Justice Aqeel Abbasi. — LHC website/APP/File

ISLAMABAD/ PESHAWAR: The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) on Friday recommended elevation of chief justices of the Lahore High Court (LHC) and Sindh High Court (SHC) to the Supreme Court, besides recommending the elevation of an LHC judge to the apex court.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Qazi Faez Isa, being the chairman of the commission, here in the Supreme Court chaired a meeting of the JCP, constitutional forum for appointment of judges in the superior courts.

The meeting was also attended by other JCP members: Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Yahya Afridi, Justice (retd) Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Federal Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Azam Nazir Tarar, Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan and representative of Pakistan Bar Council Akhtar Hussain advocate.

The meeting was convened for making deliberations over the appointment of LHC Chief Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmed Khan and SHC Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi as judges of Supreme Court, besides recommending the elevation of LHC Justice Shahid Bilal to apex court.

It was learnt that after detailed deliberations, the commission by a 5-4 majority approved the elevation of Justice Shehzad. The JCP also approved elevation of Justice Shahid.

Of nine members of the commission, four JCP members, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice (retd) Manzoor Ahmed Malik, opposed the elevation of the LHC chief justice to the Supreme Court, while CJP Isa, Justice Amin-ud-Din, Azam Tarar, AG Mansoor Usman Awan and PBC representative Akhtar Hussain voted in favour of Justice Shehzad’s elevation.

The JCP was constituted under the 18th Constitutional Amendment. As the commission recommended appointment of the LHC and SHC judges as judges of the Supreme Court, their names would now be referred to the Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment, which has the authority to approve or disapprove it. It is pertinent to mention here that at present the strength of Supreme Court judges is 14 compare to the constitutional strength of 17.

Three posts of Supreme Court judges remained vacant after the retirement of Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and resignations of Justice Ijazul Ahsen and Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi.

After the JCP recommendation if the Parliamentary Committee on the Appointment of Judges approved the recommendation of these judges, the total strength of the country’s top court would be completed.

Meanwhile, The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council expressed serious reservations over the appointment of a ‘junior’ judge in the Supreme Court.

The Balochistan Bar Council also expressed similar reservations.

KP Bar Vice Chairman Sadiq Ali Muhmand and Executive Committee Chairman Syed Taimur Ali Shah said that the appointment of judges in the Supreme Court against the seniority and principles was regrettable. They said that contrary to its own decision, the Supreme Court appointed a junior judge from the LHC.

They said that the KP Bar Council condemned this appointment and would do so in the next inter-provincial bar council meeting and decide the future course of action.

Separately, talking to Geo News programme ‘Naya Pakistan’, JCP member Aktar Hussain said that the recommendation for elevation of LHC Justice Shahid Bilal was made with consensus.

On opposition from some senior judges to the LHC chief justice’s appointment as Supreme Court judge, the JCP member said that the judges were of the view that Justice Shehzad should remain the high court chief justice for some time, while majority members were of the view that he should be appointed on the apex court due to his seniority. They were also of the view that Justice Shehzad has expertise in criminal cases and there was backlog of such cases in the Supreme Court.