The legal fraternity on Wednesday demanded the regulation of the exercise of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (SC), particularly ending the sole discretion of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) in the constitution of benches and fixing cases.
The request was made in a joint meeting of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC).
The meeting emphasised its demand that the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) immediately amends its rules to allow nominations for judicial appointments to be initiated by any member of the Judicial Commission rather than the chief justice alone (which is even otherwise violative of Article 175-A of the Constitution) and, moreover, to frame fair, transparent and objective criteria and procedures to gauge the suitability of prospective appointees.
Moreover, they demanded that Article 184(3) of the Constitution be amended in order to provide one right of appeal. They asked the federal government to immediately withdraw the curative review filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
SCBA President Ahsan Bhoon in a press conference said that the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary was not a matter of election, adding that the chief justice of Pakistan and members of the Judicial Commission should strictly adhere to the principle of seniority.
Govt to withdraw review petition against Justice Qazi Faez Isa
The federal cabinet on July 27 decided to withdraw the curative review petitions filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
The cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif, observed the action taken against Justice Isa by the Pakistan Thereek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was through “unfair use of authority”.
An inquiry committee was constituted, which includes Minister for Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for National Food Security Tariq Bashir Cheema and Minister for Education Rana Tanveer.
The committee, after an assessment of the review petitions filed against Justice Isa, would present a report to the cabinet.
Justice Faez Isa advised CJP not to bulldoze the due process of judges’ appointment
Justice Qazi Faez Isa advised Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial not to bulldoze the “due process” for the appointment of more than one-third of the total number of judges in the apex court.
In a letter written to the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), Justice Isa said that it was surprising that the JCP’s meeting had been convened to consider the appointment of five SC judges during summer vacations. It is pertinent to mention here that JCP is headed by CJP Bandial.
“When availing of annual leave no meeting of the JCP was scheduled but as soon as I left Pakistan the CJP decided to hold two meetings of the JCP to consider appointments to the Sindh and Lahore High Courts, and now a third unscheduled meeting of the JCP is to be held during the summer vacations of the SC. The summer vacations of the SC were notified by the CJP himself, and then these were gazetted in the Official Gazette. If the CJP renders his own notification utterly meaningless then let him first withdraw it, instead of violating it,” wrote Justice Isa in his letter.
“It suggests that the CJP does not want me to be physically present, which is illegal and unconstitutional.”
Justice Isa said that the matter of appointing judges to the superior courts requires utmost care and due deliberation as it is a delicate matter.
Addressing the CJP, the judge said: “Please do not ridicule the JCP and your nominees by contravening the Constitution. Restricting the JCP to consider only the CJ’s pre-selected nominees is inappropriate. The JCP deserves to be treated with respect and consideration by its chairman.”
Justice Isa stressed the need that “all appointments must be made in accordance with the Constitution, on the basis of a predetermined and non-discriminatory criteria. And above all without any impression of favouritism. The Constitution does not grant the CJP any powers additional to those of the other members of the JCP; the CJP is only designated as the Chairman of the JCP.”
JCP meeting underway to discuss CJP Bandial’s five nominees for elevation to SC
JCP meeting is underway to discuss CJP Bandial’s five nominees for their elevation to Supreme Court. Justice Isa is attending the meeting from Spain and Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar is participating from the USA.
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