JCP to discuss SHC judge’s elevation on 28th

AGP proposes that a permanent and an ad hoc SHC judge be elevated to SC


Hasnaat Malik July 24, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

ISLAMABAD. Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed has summoned on July 28 another meeting of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) to consider elevation of a Sindh High Court (SHC) junior judge, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, to the Supreme Court.

The JCP on July 13 approved the nomination of Balochistan High Court (BHC) Chief Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail to the apex court. However, the commission deferred the matter related to elevation of Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, who is fifth on SHC seniority.

According to sources, a few JCP members expressed serious reservations over the nomination of Justice Mazhar and strongly endorsed the superior bars' concerns. One member even asked why four senior SHC judges, including SHC Chief Justice Ahmad Ali Sheikh, were being ignored.

Earlier, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the apex regulatory body of lawyers, observed a strike on July 13 in order to register a protest against the nomination of the SHC junior judge to the SC.

At the last meeting, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan had proposed a formula in order to redress the lawyers’ concerns. In view of that proposed formula, two judges could be elevated from the SHC to the SC. However, one will perform as an ad hoc SC judge.

A representative of the superior bar revealed to The Express Tribune that they have already conveyed to the JCP that only SHC Chief Justice Ahmad Ali Sheikh should be elevated as a permanent judge to the SC.

Despite passage of a couple of months, the PBC is also unable to fulfill its constitutional obligation to nominate its member for the JCP, the constitutional forum with a key role in appointment and elevation of superior courts’ judges.

Two-year term of the PBC representative in the JCP, Akhtar Hussain, ended two months ago but the apex regulatory body of lawyers has not taken any step to nominate a new member for the JCP.

Due to delay in the nomination of its member, no lawyers’ representative attended the last JCP meeting in which the commission discussed the proposal regarding elevation of two high courts judges to the SC.

It is learnt that even during its last meeting, the majority of the JCP members also expressed concern over lawyers’ inability to nominate their members for the commission.

Currently, the total number of the PBC office bearers is 23 and almost two third of them belong to the Asma Jahangir Group, also known as the Independent Lawyers Group.

A PBC member from Balochistan Munir Kakar, who belongs to the rival Professional Lawyers Group, said it is a big failure of lawyers’ apex regulatory body that it is unable to fulfill its constitutional obligation.

Kakar alleged that the Independent Group is delaying the matter in order to gain political objectives. He said the Independent Group should take steps on principles rather than political gains.

A PBC member, Abid Zubairi, has written a letter to PBC Vice Chairman Khushdil Khan for holding a meeting regarding nomination of its member to the commission.

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