ISLAMABAD: The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) on Thursday proposed elevation of Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court (LHC), as judge of the Supreme Court.
The proposal was made during a meeting of the commission with Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar in the chair. The commission recommended Justice Yawar Ali Khan as new LHC chief justice.
Justice Yawar is a member of the special court hearing the treason case against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. He may work as LHC CJ until October.
Legal experts believe his appointment will be significant in view of the upcoming general elections. Generally, the role of the judiciary is always important in ensuring free and fair elections.
Justice Yawar is the son of former chief justice Yaqoob Ali Khan.
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Azam Nazeer Tarar of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) says that Justice Yawar is soft spoken and never got harsh with any lawyer in the courtroom.
Tarar also lauded the efforts of Justice Shah in enacting judicial reforms in Punjab.
Justice Shah had introduced a number of reforms for the betterment of overall justice system in Punjab and strived to regulate bar associations of the province.
However, due to a number of measures taken by him to curb a culture of extremism in the legal fraternity, a segment of lawyers was unhappy with him. Disputes also arose between the bench and the Multan High Court Bar Association last year. Both the times, the apex court had to intervene to sort out the issue.
However, another section of lawyers believed that the services of Justice Shah as LHC chief justice were still required for betterment in the justice system.
A senior lawyer believes that his elevation will be good for both high court and Supreme Court.
Justice Shah was appointed as LHC judge on September 15, 2009 and as the chief justice in June 2015. If promoted by the commission, he will remain the Supreme Court judge until November 2027, with bright chances to become Chief Justice of Pakistan in the future.
CJP proposes elevation of LHC chief justice as SC judge
With Justice Shah’s elevation, the Supreme Court will regain its full strength, as one seat is currently vacant in the apex court.
According to the seniority list, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa will be the next CJP. Following his retirement, Justice Gulzar Ahmad, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Qazi Faez Isa will work as the country’s top judge. After Justice Isa’s retirement, Justice Shah will be appointed as CJP.
The JCP also proposed six names for appointment as additional judges of the Sindh High Court (SHC).
The commission recommended two district and sessions judges Ishrat Ali Shah and Kausar Sultana Hussain as well as four lawyers Adnan Iqbal Chaudhry, Amjid Ali Sahito, Agha Faisal and Shamsuddin Abbasi for appointment as additional judges for a year.
Presently, 33 judges are working in the SHC while its total strength is 40. After the appointment of those judges, the top court in Sindh would be one short of attaining its full strength.
All recommendations by the JCP will be sent to the Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment for consideration.
It is also learnt that the commission has decided to amend its rules soon. A committee led by Justice Khosa has already been constituted to propose new rules.
Since 2010, the PBC is demanding amendments to the JCP rules. The PBC believes that discretionary powers of chief justices in the appointment of judges should be abolished.