The Supreme Court of Pakistan has upheld its earlier verdict invalidating a parliamentary committee’s refusal to endorse a one-year extension in the service of six judges and dismissed the federation’s review appeal on Wednesday A four-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice MA Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Jawad S Khawaja, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, upheld the decision announced on March 4.
The review filed by the government against the decision of the apex court to set aside the parliamentary committee’s rejection of the judicial commission’s (JC) recommendations for granting a one-year extension to six additional judges from the Lahore and Sindh High Courts has been dismissed.
The government had contended that the apex court in its March 21 verdict has rewritten Article 175-A of the constitution by going beyond its powers of interpreting the constitution under the doctrine of judicial review. The bench has rejected the federation’s stance that the apex court violated the constitution and overstepped its jurisdiction in reversing the pc’s recommendations.
“The parliamentary committee is not empowered to reject the judges’ appointment according to article 68 of the constitution,” said Justice Khawaja during the course of hearing of the review. He said that the committee should review its proposals which were rejected on legal grounds. The parliamentary committee would be unique if it were not answerable for its decisions. Since it was constituted in light of the constitution, it is not above the law and is therefore answerable to parliament, he remarked.
Justice Hussain observed that the report of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) which is attended by the four chief ministers is also presented before the parliament but there is no such rule in place for the parliamentary committee.
On March 4, the bench had invalidated the parliamentary committee’s decision and directed the government to issue a notification for a one-year extension in the service of the six judges.
The government submitted in the review petition that the judgment has amended and rewritten the constitution by permitting an issue to be taken up before the constitutional process is complete, rendering the role of the PC virtually meaningless and redundant
in the new judicial appointment process, prejudicing thereby the challenges faced by the
18th Constitutional Amendment still pending before the court.
The same bench will take up a petition next week requesting the initiation of contempt proceedings against law secretary Masood Chishti for not implementing the apex court’s order on
the recommendations of judicial commission for appointment of superior court’s judges.
Lawyers Munir Hussain Bhatti and Kamran Murtaza filed petitions under Articles 187, 190 and 204 of the constitution, asking the apex court to pass an order for prosecution and punishment of the law secretary with a custodial sentence for having committed contumacious contempt of the apex court.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2011.