Tuesday August 16, 2022

Juniors being appointed to superior courts: senior lawyers

By News Desk
June 29, 2022

LAHORE: Senior lawyers have expressed reservations about convening a meeting of the Judicial Commission in the absence of the most most judge to appoint additional judges in the Sindh High Court and confirm judges of the Lahore High Court.

They have also expressed concern over appointment of junior judges to the superior judiciary. Senior lawyer and head of the Professional Group Hamid Khan, member of the Pakistan Bar Council Chaudhry Ishtiaq A. Khan, Shafqat Mahmood Chohan, former president of the Lahore High Court Bar Rana Zia Abdurrehman, Maqsood Buttar, President of the Lahore Bar Rao Sami, former secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Asad Manzoor Butt, Shamim Malik and others told a presser junior judges were being appointed to the Supreme Court and impression of pick and choose was being created.

They said that the Judicial Commission's proceedings without senior-most Justice Qazi Faiz Essa were being held against the rules to appoint and confirm judges. They said law permitted appointments to the superior judiciary based solely on seniority.

The senior lawyers said there should be appointments to the superior judiciary after making transparent rules. There is no justification for making appointments during court holidays, they said, adding that a member of the Judicial Commission has also expressed reservations in this regard. They said that all the provinces should have equal rights while appointing judges to the superior judiciary. They said it was not right to elevate judges from the Lahore High Court only, adding that the judges from the Peshawar High Court and the Islamabad High Court are being ignored which is in the spirit of law.

“We have no political agenda and grouping, we only talk about the rule of constitution and law and we will continue to do so,” they said, adding that there is ruling in the Al-Jahad case that appointment of judges to the superior judiciary should be on the basis of seniority.

Asim Yasin adds from Islamabad: PPP leader Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, meanwhile, backed the legal fraternity for the observance of merit and seniority in the appointment of judges in the superior courts and suggested that the parliamentary committee should amend its rules to play an effective role in the appointment of judges and also emphasis that federal structure should be reflected in composition in Supreme Court.

“It is correct that, seniority and merit are the main drivers of such appointments, but it must be kept in mind that the Supreme Court is the apex court of the Federation as Article 1, Constitution, 1973, provides that Pakistan shall be Federal Republic, therefore, such a court should, as far as possible, reflect the ethnic, cultural and religious diversity of the Federation,” he said while in a statement.

He said the appointment of judges of the superior judiciary has historically been a ticklish question. “The question has defied an all-encompassing solutions despite various judgments, resolutions of the bar and the introduction of Article 175A, Constitution, 1973, through the 18th Amendment,” she said.

Senator Rabbani, who headed the Parliamentary Committee for 18th Amendment in the Constitution, said the 18th Amendment, brought a homogeneous mix of the judiciary, executive, representative of the elected body of the legal fraternity and a retired judge, in the Judicial Commission. “It provided parliamentary oversight through a bi-partisan Parliamentary Committee consisting of equal members of the treasury and opposition,” he said.

Senator Mian Raza Rabbani suggested that the rules of the Judicial Commission be revisited and a seniority cum fitness criteria be established, a multi-dimensional appointment criterion be put in place on appointment of judges.