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Wednesday December 01, 2021

CJP yet to nominate new member for JCP

October 24, 2021
CJP yet to nominate new member for JCP

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed is yet to deliberate over the appointment of a new member of Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) as Justice Dost Muhammad Khan’s tenure expired on October 10, 2021.

Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), a constitutional forum for appointment of judges in the superior courts consist of nine members including chief justice of Pakistan, four most senior judges of the Supreme Court, federal minister for law and justice, Attorney General for Pakistan and a senior advocate of the Supreme Court nominated by the Pakistan Bar Council for a term of two years.

Similarly, a former chief justice or a former judge of the Supreme Court will be nominated by the chief justice in consultation with the four most senior judges of the apex court and members of the Commission is appointed for a period of two years.

However, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed being the chairman of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) is yet to consult with the four senior most judges of the Supreme Court and members of the Commission for the appointment of a new member. At present, four most senior judges of the Supreme Court and members of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan are: Justice Umar Ata Bandial Justice Maqbool Baqir, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood.

Justice Sardar Tariq Masood has recently become member of the Commission after Justice Mushir Alam doffed his robes in August after reaching superannuation. Justice Dost Muhammad Khan (retd) was appointed an additional judge of Peshawar High Court in September 2002 and later on became PHC chief justice in November 2012.

He was elevated as judge of the Supreme Court in January 2014 and retired on March 19, 2018. Similarly, in June 2018, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced Justice Dost Muhammad Khan’s (retd) appointment as caretaker chief minister of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. Recently, being a member of the Judicial Commission, Justice Dost Muhammad Khan (retd) was among the four members of the JCP opposing the elevation of Justice Ayesha A. Malik, judge of Lahore High Court to Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Four out of eight members of the JCP — Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, former judge Dost Mohammad Khan and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) representative Akhtar Hussain had opposed the appointment of Justice Ayesha Malik, whereas Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Law Minister Barrister Farogh Naseem and Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan had supported it.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa, another JCP member, was away from the meeting because of the treatment of his wife Sarina Isa. Justice Ayesha A. Malik is on number 4 on seniority list of the Lahore High Court and she was recommended for elevation to the Supreme Court.

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan then had deferred the matter due to equal split. On the same day, the legal fraternity led by Pakistan Bar Council as well as Supreme Court Bar Association in line with its announcement already made had protested in the Supreme Court, demanding that the appointment in apex court should be made on the basis of seniority and in accordance with the judgements of the Supreme Court.

Earlier in July 2021, the Judicial Commission of Pakistan had approved the elevation of Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, the fifth in seniority list of Sindh High Court to the Supreme Court.

Five members of the Commission had endorsed the move while four others including Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice (retd) Dost Muhammad Khan and PBC representative Akhtar Hussain had opposed the nomination of Justice Mazhar to the apex court.

It is pertinent to mention that as per Article 175 (2) 3) of the Constitution, a former chief justice or a former judge of the Supreme Court to be nominated by the chief justice in consultation with the four most senior judges of the Supreme Court and members of the Commission is appointed for a period of two years.