PBC proposes amending JCP Rules 2010

CJ Bandial chairs rule committee meeting


Hasnaat Malik March 09, 2022
PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) representative Akhtar Hussain has proposed addition of a new clause in the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) Rules 2010 for ensuring ‘meaningful consultation’ with the representatives of bars concerned before formal initiation or sending names to the JCP for appointment as superior court judges.

The meeting of the rules committee to amend the Judicial Commission of Pakistan Rules of 2010 was held on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, who also heads the JCP as its chairman.

The meeting was attended by other members comprising Justice Maqbool Baqir, former judge Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan and PBC representative Akhtar Hussain.

Read more: PBC takes ‘U-turn’ on criteria for elevating judges

The committee discussed the rules and deliberated various proposals put forward by the committee members to amend them for incorporating specific criteria of the appointment of judges of the superior courts.

The members also discussed the methodology to be adopted for evaluating the candidates for the elevation on the basis of the appropriate criteria. The meeting took place in an interactive environment and ended with a vote of thanks to and from the chair, says the statement issued by the SC PR office.

The committee was constituted by former CJP Justice Gulzar Ahmed on January 11.

One member of the committee revealed to The Express Tribune that another meeting would be held on the agenda soon. However, one member of the committee, Justice Maqbool Baqar, is retiring on April 4.

It is learnt that PBC representative Akhtar Hussain has shared draft to the rules committee wherein it is proposed that a new clause should be added to the JCP Rules 2010 for “meaningful consultation” with bar representatives concerned before initiation or sending names to the commission for appointment of a judge.

The consultation will be made by the respective chief justices of the higher courts. It is proposed that every member of the JCP should have the right to recommend any name for the appointment of superior courts judges.

The inclusion of a new clause for permitting the commission to summon nominees for a personal hearing at a JCP meeting has also been suggested.

The committee has also suggested amendments to the JCP Rules 6 and 8 to end the “discretionary” powers of the JCP chairman – the chief justice of Pakistan – in the process of the appointment of judges.

In 2013, the PBC had also proposed a number of amendments to the JCP rules, calling for transferring discretionary powers on the appointment of superior court judges from the chairman to the commission.

Even former CJs had formed special committees to consider the proposed amendments, but no result came out.

Earlier, the AGP had already written a letter to superior bars for evolving the criteria over the issue.

According to the AGP, multiple factors are taken into consideration for performance evaluation of high court judges, some of which may be mathematically determined on the basis of available data while other factors would be informed by general evaluation and perception.

"These could include reputation and public perception about integrity, independence and impartiality, health condition, length of service, number of cases heard and judgments delivered, number of cases heard but judgments not delivered, average duration between final hearing and delivery of judgement, commitment to constitutional values and fundamental rights, range and diversity of work, expertise in a particular area, command over language, temperament and demeanour towards colleagues, the bar and the litigants etc," he added.

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