Saturday December 04, 2021

Lawyers protest judges’ elevation ‘in violation of seniority rule’

September 10, 2021
Lawyers protest judges’ elevation ‘in violation of seniority rule’

ISLAMABAD: The legal fraternity Thursday held a demonstration at the SC against the elevation of junior judges “in violation of the seniority rule”.

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Khushdil Khan and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Abdul Latif Afridi, along with other lawyer representative bodies, staged a demonstration against the proposed elevation of a junior judge to the apex court in violation of the seniority rule. It was for the first time after the sacked judges’ restoration movement that lawyers did not appear before the apex court in protest.

The SCBA president had informed the CJP about the protest through a letter, sent on Aug 21. From the journalist community, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Secretary General Nasir Zaidi, RIUJ President Amir Sajjad Syed and National Press Club Secretary Anwar Raza also participated in the protest rally.

A contingent of police was also deployed and the parking lot of the court wasalso closed due to security concerns. After holding the demonstration at the SC, lawyers went to Asma Jehangir Auditorium to participate in the All Pakistan Lawyers Convention.

The convention was addressed by SCBA President Abdul Latif Afridi, PBC Vice Chairman Khushdil Khan, former SCBA president Ali Ahmed Kurd and others. Later, in a unanimously passed resolution, the convention urged the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) to strictly implement the principle of seniority in the judicial appointments to the SC; otherwise, allegations of pick and choose will damage the image of the judiciary.

The Judicial Commission must strictly adhere to the seniority principle in judicial appointments to the SC from the provincial high courts until such a time when fair, transparent and objective criteria for appointment of judges at all levels were framed in consultation with all stakeholders, including the bar and the appropriate amendments to the Judicial Commission Rules are made, said the resolution.

It also demanded the Parliament to undo a judgment passed by Justice Musheer Alam, through which more than 17,000 government employees had been declared jobless. It further demanded a ban on all forms of reappointments after retirement.

The convention resolved that the unfettered and unstructured exercise of discretion must be duly regulated through rules and guidelines. It demanded that a Lawyers Protection Act be immediately passed by the Parliament for protection of lawyers, who are being frequently targeted and even murdered in the line of duty.

The convention resolved that Article 175(A) should be amended to reduce the “monopoly of judges over the Judicial Commission” and enhance the representation of other stakeholders, especially the bar on the basis of parity.

The convention was held under the auspices of the PBC and the SCBA and joined by representatives of all provincial bar councils, along with Islamabad Bar Council and the representatives of all high court bar associations, district bar associations and tehsil bar associations.

Our Lahore correspondent adds: The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) Thursday approved a resolution against elevation of junior judges to the Supreme Court “in violation of the principle of seniority”.

Lawyers also observed strike and stayed away from the court proceedings to record their protest. LHCBA President Maqsood Butter said Justice Ayesha Malik was a competent judge, but that did not mean that she should be appointed as an SC judge, ignoring the principle of seniority. In the past, Justice Fakhrun-Nisa Khokhar had not been appointed to the SC under the pretext of favouritism. “Our voice is against all illegal appointments made till date,” the resolution.