Open competition: Plea seeking exams for judges dismissed

Appointment of high court judges through JCP challenged

Our Correspondent October 27, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The top court has rejected a plea, seeking introduction of competitive examinations, along the lines of the Central Superior Services (CSS) examination, for the appointment of judges to superior courts.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa on Wednesday took up pleas of the Lawyers Foundation for Justice and the district & sessions judge, Peshawar, challenging the appointment of high court judges through the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP).

A K Dogar representing the Lawyers Foundation for Justice in his petition posed the question: “Why are thousands of lawyers, who are qualified and meet the necessary requirements to become judges, not afforded the opportunity.”

Another petitioner Syed Asghar Ali Shah, who is a sessions judge sought review of ‘impugned selection policy [judges appointment]’, but he failed to refer to any policy.

Shah repeatedly said that the practice of appointing judges by the chief justice of Pakistan and chief justices of high courts needed to be improved, adding Rule 10 of the JCP Rules is not appropriate, and a fair policy needed to be adopted. The court also dismissed his petition.

On Tuesday, an application was received from A K Dogar in which he expressed his inability to appear before the bench because he was a ‘Fistula chronic patient’. The court had rejected his application.

The bench noted that the JCP rules have been framed under the mandate of Clause 4 of Article 175A of the Constitution. The bench said the vires and the validity of Article 175A have been upheld by the apex court and even the JCP rules have been examined by the Supreme Court, and it had been categorically upheld that the JCP Rules 2010 are not repugnant to the Constitution, and have been enforced by the authorities, adding the issue has also been settled in the presidential reference case in 2012.

Earlier, the matter was placed before the chief justice of Pakistan’s bench, wherein the case was admitted for regular hearing. The chief justice also observed that there was a need of giving authoritative judgment over the plea. However, the bench rejected the petitions on Wednesday.

Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti appearing before the bench submitted a concise statement over the petitions.

The statement says that the chief justice of a high court is in the privileged position and is most suitable to determine competency, professionalism and integrity of lawyers appearing in the high court, therefore the chief justice of a high court is best equipped to make responsible nominations.

“The procedure for the appointment of judges to high courts provided in Article 175A of the Constitution is in accordance with the intent of the legislation. That any attempt to subvert, replace or modify the appointment process as provided by Article 175A shall be against the Constitution, and therefore liable to be dismissed with the same reason.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2016.



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