Senate panel calls for review of judges’ recruitment procedure

Committee passes Women's Property Rights Enforcement (Amendment) Bill


Saqib Virk July 02, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice Thursday called for reviewing the procedure for the appointment of judges after it was informed that the experiment of making the recruitment through the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) had failed.

The committee which met here with its chairman, Ali Zafar, in the chair, passed with a majority vote the Women's Property Rights Enforcement (Amendment) Bill, 2021, while postponing further deliberations on the Muslim Family Laws (Amendment) Bill.

The meeting was briefed on the work and performance of the law and justice Ministry. Law Minister Forogh Naseem told the committee that the experiment of recruiting the judges through the FPSC had failed.

“The notification of the appointment of judge, who were selected in 2014, was issued after he became the minister in 2018,” the minister said. “Delay in the appointment of judges also led to contempt of court proceedings. The procedure for appointment of judges should be changed,” he added.

Committee member Azam Nazir Tarar said that not everything should be given to the judiciary on a platter. Musaddiq Malik said that the process has become a matter of discretion of the government and the judiciary. The chair said that it was necessary to review the procedure for appointment of judges.

Another committee member, Farooq Naik asked about the supervision of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) courts. “Why there is no supervision of the high court over NAB courts. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) closed all the courts because of Covid pandemic but the NAB court continued, he said.

Which high court, the NAB courts are subordinate to, he asked, adding that the IHC chief justice had said that NAB courts were not subordinate to him. “If appeal against NAB courts goes to the high court, then why there is no administrative control [over them]?”

Committee member Shibli Faraz raised the question since when this was happening. He also asked whether the NAB courts were not subordinate to the Islamabad High Court from the beginning or the were now.

Naik replied that it was going from 1999, when former military ruler Pervez Musharraf enacted the law. “Many amendments were made by Musharraf in 2002, but this law has not been passed by parliament till date, he said. “If the previous governments made mistake, you should not repeat them.”

Faraz pointed out that the IHC had annulled the appointment of the president of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and asked: “Why do we lose every case?” The law minister replied that the cases that had been won were not reported in the media.

During the meeting, the Muslim Family Laws (Amendment) Bill (amendment to Section 4) and the Muslim Family Laws (Amendment) Bill (amendment to Section 7) were reviewed. Both the bills were deferred for further consideration.

The meeting also reviewed the Enforcement of Women's Property Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and passed it by a majority. Under the bill, women can approach a female ombudsman for their inheritance right.

During his meeting, Raza Rabbani expressed his displeasure over Forogh Naseem's laughter, saying that it was a very inappropriate attitude. the law minister apologised to Rabbani but said that he laughed at a joke from Farooq Naik.

The situation became tense when Naik said that he did not speak at all. The law minister told Rabbani that he was not laughing at him. On that Raza Rabbani, the former Senate chairman, expressed his displeasure.

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