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Friday July 01, 2022

Top judicial appointment: Justice Bandial to become CJP after three weeks, to serve for 19 months

Justice Bandial will continue as the chief justice till his retirement on September 18, 2023

January 10, 2022
Justice Umar Ata Bandial. File photo
Justice Umar Ata Bandial. File photo

ISLAMABAD: Justice Umar Ata Bandial will be sworn in as the Chief Justice of Pakistan after three weeks on February 2 following the retirement of incumbent Supreme Court Chief Justice Justice Gulzar Ahmed. Justice Gulzar Ahmed will retire after working in the top judicial position for more than two years.

The change will take place on the principle of seniority in which the puisne judge becomes the chief justice. Neither the executive nor any other authority has any power in such appointments in the apex court as well as the high courts. The president of Pakistan just issues the requisite notification.

Supreme Court judges, including the chief justice, retire after attaining the age of 65 years while the high court justices superannuate on becoming 62-year-old under the Constitution. The age is counted from the date of birth recorded at the time of the judicial appointment.

The seniority of an apex court judge is counted from the date of his elevation to the Supreme Court. It is possible, and has happened more than once, that a justice who was junior to another judge in the High Court became senior to him in the top court as he had been inducted before the other.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed assumed the office of the chief justice on December 21, 2019 replacing Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, who is of late embroiled in controversies relating to his incumbency as the top judge amid calls for investigations by a judicial forum.

Justice Bandial will continue as the chief justice till his retirement on September 18, 2023 and will hold the position for some 19 months. Around the time he hangs up his robes, the next general elections are likely to be held if they are organized after the completion of the five-year tenure of the National Assembly.

Following Justice Bandial’s superannuation, Justice Qazi Faez Isa will become the chief justice to serve this office for over one year till October 25, 2024. During his incumbency, Justice Qazi Faez Isa has faced a reference, filed by President Dr Arif Alvi, on account of the offshore properties of his spouse and children, which was finally thrown out by the Supreme Court in a split judgment.

In between, Justice Maqbool Baqar will retire without becoming the chief justice. Similarly, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan will also superannuate without being the chief justice. However, after the superannuation of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Ijazul Ahsan will become the chief justice and work in this position for some 10 months till August 4, 2025. He was a member of the Panama Papers bench of the apex court, which disqualified Nawaz Sharif for not having declared the receivable salary from his son’s foreign company. He was also the monitoring judge for the hearings of the references against the deposed prime minister and his other family members by the accountability court.

Among other sitting judges, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Yahya Afridi will also become chief justices later.

Article 175A says the president will appoint the most senior judge of the Supreme Court as the chief justice. However, the judicial commission, headed by the chief justice, decides about the elevation of the high court judges to the Supreme Court. It consists of the chief justice, four most senior judges of the apex court; a former chief justice or a former judge of the Supreme Court to be nominated by the chief justice in consultation with the four judges for a term of two years; the federal law minister, the attorney general of Pakistan; and a senior advocate of the Supreme Court nominated by the Pakistan Bar Council for a term of two years.

In his law practice at Lahore, Justice Bandial, who will become the chief justice after some nine weeks, dealt mostly with commercial, banking, tax and property matters. After 1993 until his elevation, he also handled international commercial disputes.

He appeared in arbitration matters before the Supreme Court and also before international arbitral tribunals in London and Paris. Justice Bandial was elevated as an LHC Judge on December 4, 2004. He had declined oath under PCO [provisional constitutional order of Pervez Musharraf] in November, 2007 but was restored as an LHC judge as a result of the lawyers’ movement for revival of the judiciary and constitutional rule in the country, according to the CV uploaded on the Supreme Court website.

Later, he served for two years as the LHC chief justice until his elevation as a judge of the Supreme Court in June 2014. During his career as a judge of the LHC and the Supreme Court, Justice Bandial has rendered judgments on a number of important public law and private law issues.

These include pronouncements on civil and commercial disputes, constitutional rights and public interest matters. He received his elementary and secondary education at different schools in Kohat, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Lahore. He secured his B.A. (Economics) degree from Columbia University, USA followed by a Law Tripos degree from Cambridge University, UK and qualified as Barrister-at-Law from Lincoln’s Inn, London. In 1983, he was enrolled as an advocate of the LHC and some years later, as an advocate of the Supreme Court.

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    Roast in hell commented 3 months ago

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