ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa has proposed name of the Balochistan High Court (BHC) former chief justice Mohammad Noor Meskanzai as new chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC).
Sources revealed to The Express Tribune that the CJP being chairman of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) has summoned a meeting of the commission on April 22 to consider nomination of Meskanzai as the new FSC top judge.
The FSC Chief Justice Sheikh Najamul Hasan is retiring on May 14. Justice Hasan, who is a former Lahore High Court judge, was appointed as an FSC judge on August 08, 2014 and was elevated as its chief justice on May 15, 2017.
His performance as the FSC chief justice has been commended by the legal fraternity. A recent FSC annual report reveals that pendency of cases has reduced from 567 to 375 in the last one year.
On January 1, 2018, one hundred and ninety (190) Shariat petitions were pending for hearing; 72 new Shariat petitions were instituted while 138 were disposed of.
On December 31, 2018, the balance was 124 Shariat petitions. During the current year, the total number of criminal matters (appeals, references and suo moto notices) pending decision was 377.
Two hundred and twenty eight (228) new appeals/references were instituted in the principal seat (Islamabad) while 33 in bench registries. The court disposed of 354 cases while the balance on December 31, 2018 was 251.
The report also reveals that after appointment of incumbent FSC chief justice, the cases were reorganised at the principal seat and bench registries and are regularly fixed besides the normal inflow of criminal cases.
A letter was sent on behalf of the FSC chief justice to registrars of all high courts on Oct 30, 2017, directing them to transfer criminal cases in which during trial charges against the accused were framed under Hudood Laws but on conclusion of trial, the accused was/were not convicted under Hudood laws.
In this respect, almost 104 cases consisting of murder references, murder appeals, other criminal appeals and revisions were transferred from four high courts to the FSC in 2018.
The annual report says the incumbent chief justice is very keen to dispose of cases as early as possible especially the backlog of old cases from 1994 to 2010. At the end of 2017, the FSC had 180 old criminal cases and now their number has been reduced to 81. The annual report says the outgoing chief justice has determined that all pending matters will be decided by the mid of 2019.