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Monday September 26, 2022

Names of judges suggested by CJP rejected

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan rejected Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial’s nominated judges of high courts for their appointment to the Supreme Court

July 29, 2022
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial. File photo
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial. File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) Thursday rejected Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial’s nominated judges of high courts for their appointment to the Supreme Court, sources said.

CJP Bandial presided over the judicial commission’s session, where the names of total five judges, two from the Sindh High Court (SHC) and three from the Lahore High Court (LHC), were considered.

The chief justice, Justice Aijazul Ahsan, and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah voted in favour of the nominees, while Justice (retd) Sarmad Jalal Usmani voted in favour of three judges from the LHC and voted against the SHC nominees, sources said.

However, according to sources, their votes were less in number as Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Tariq Masood, Attorney-General Ashtar Ausaf Ali, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and Bar Council representative voted against all the five nominees.

After the meeting, the official statement issued about the meeting said that the JCP chairman, after detailed discussion, proposed to “defer the meeting in order to enable the Chief Justice of Pakistan to place additional information and data about those already proposed and if he considers appropriate, add more names to the list of proposees for consideration by the JCP.

“The proposal to defer the meeting was supported by Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice (retd) Sarmad Jalal Usmany and the Attorney General for Pakistan. It was accordingly decided to defer the meeting. The date of the next meeting will be communicated to the members of the Judicial Commission by the Chairman, JCP,” said the statement.

The statement also said that the meeting was attended by seven members of the JCP in person while Justice Qazi Faez Isa and the attorney general attended via Zoom.

Upon receiving five votes against the nominees, the chief justice ended the session without reaching a decision, sources added. Justice Qazi Faez Isa and the attorney general for Pakistan attended the meeting via video-link.

Had they been approved, then in line with Article 175-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, the JCP would have forwarded the list to the parliamentary committees for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court.

The names of Chief Justice Peshawar High Court (PHC) Qaiser Rashid Khan, Sindh High Court (SHC) judges Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui, Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto and Justice Shahid Waheed of Lahore High Court (LHC) were considered to fill the existing vacancies.

The positions of SC judges fell vacant after the retirement of Justice Mushir Alam, former chief justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel. Justice Sajjad Ali Shah will reach superannuation next August.

After the meeting, Justice Qazi Faez Isa stressed that Judicial Commission of Pakistan’s decisions made on appointment of judges should be released for public.

In a letter written to the JCP members and Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, who is also the chairman of the body, Justice Isa said that the JCP meeting was supposed to consider the five nominations, made by the chief justice, on Thursday. “After a detailed discussion, the majority of the honourable members of the JCP, that is Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Attorney-General Ashtar Ausaf Ali, representative of the Pakistan Bar Council Akhtar Hussain, and myself, decided to reject the nominations of the three junior judges of the Sindh High Court and one junior judge of the Lahore High Court,” said Justice Isa.

about the elevation of chief justice of the Peshawar High Court to the apex court, Justice Isa said that the body decided that as he was not the senior-most judge “his name may be considered when placed alongside those of his peers, that is, with the Chief Justices of the other High Courts and senior-most judges, with the provision of comparable data”.

“It was also decided that the Constitution did not permit appointments to ‘anticipated’ vacancies,” said Justice Isa. However, the judge shared that Justice Bandial “did not dictate the decisions that were taken, and left the meeting quite abruptly, followed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan”.

He added that after the chairman’s departure, it was left to the temporarily appointed acting secretary to draw up the minutes of the decisions that were taken, adding that this was his first time doing so.

“The eyes of the nation are transfixed on the JCP and they have a constitutional right to know what was decided. Therefore, the acting secretary should immediately release this decision to the media, which will also stem unnecessary speculation and misreporting as the meeting was held behind closed doors. It is expected that the detailed minutes will accurately reflect all that transpired,” said Justice Isa.

Later on, talking to Shahzeb Khanzada on Geo News, senior law expert Hamid Khan said that it is regrettable that diverse claims came out regarding the Judicial Commission meeting. It is unbelievable that Chief Justice of Pakistan as chairman of the Judicial Commission would make such a statement which has not been discussed in the meeting.

He said that according to his information, the nominees of the CJP had been rejected with majority of 5-4. He said it seems that a new statement of the JCP meeting was being issued after making certain changes. He said that it was regrettable as it is vital to uphold the sanctity of the institution. He said what has happened in the JCP meeting should be reflected in press release. If the meeting was to be deferred, it should be done before voting and after voting, it could not be considered as deferred. He said that the names presented in the meeting would have been given afresh. He said the next JCP meeting should be held after the vacation. He said that taking along the judiciary is CJP’s responsibility and it seems that the CJP is dividing the judiciary and it will undermine the dignity and independence of the institution.

He appealed to the CJP not to let create further fissures in the judiciary and he should not mete out injustice to anyone and follow the rules of justice and fairness.

He said that Sindh High Court chief justice has been waiting for elevation to the Supreme Court for the last five years. He has not been elevated to the apex court. In the same way, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah has also not been made an SC judge for the last four years. He expressed hope that the CJP would take all the judges along in future.

Hamid Khan favoured amendments to the SC rules and maintained that authority to form benches should not rest with the CJP alone. He said that there should be a committee of four judges, along with the CJP, to constitute benches and constitutional and political matters should be taken up by a bench of senior most five judges. He said that the SCBA had been demanding for the last 25 years that the benches should not be formed on pick-and-choose basis.

He said that CJP Umar Ata Bandial wanted to make decisions by sitting with like-minded judges and the situation was enough to make a compromise on the independence and dignity of judiciary.

Meanwhile, SCBA President Ahsan Bhoon said he had a discussion with minister for law and representative of the bar and they endorsed the letter written by Justice Qazi Faez Isa. He said that the government and bar representatives favoured the demand of the lawyer organisations and they deserve tribute for this. 

Comments

    guest commented 2 months ago

    Haha

    3 0

    Jawaid Khalil commented 2 months ago

    Why no judge from Peshawar & Balochistan high courts are on the list of the nominees?

    0 0

    Guest commented 2 months ago

    Hilarious everyone in this country tries to become a dictator... Even SC judges are not appointed by following rules... Country is heading towards a disaster.

    1 0