Members call for holding JCP meeting

Urge CJ to ensure merit and seniority in the elevation of judges

JEHANZEB ABBASI April 16, 2024
LJCP claims parole and probation laws have lost their relevance. PHOTO: EXPRESS


There is a proposal to immediately convene a meeting of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) to approve the draft rules for the elevation of judges to the superior judiciary.

This proposal has been made by the JCP member from the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Akhtar Hussain, and former JCP member Advocate Amjad Farooq Khattak. Three judges are to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

In February this year, the Supreme Court’s senior judge Ijazul Ahsan suddenly resigned. Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi followed suit and handed in his resignation in view of misconduct proceedings initiated against him by the Supreme Judicial Council. SC senior Puisne judge Sardar Tariq Masood also retired last month.

Akhtar Hussain told The Express Tribune that one SC judge should be appointed from the Sindh High Court, and at least one judge from the Lahore High Court should be elevated to the SC. He said Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Qazi Faez Isa also holds the opinion that chief justices should not have the sole authority to nominate judges.

“The draft prepared by the Rules Making Committee has been finalized; now, a full JCP meeting should be called to approve it,” he said. Amjad Farooq Khattak said appointments of judges in the higher judiciary should be based on merit rather than relationships and affiliations with chambers.

“We hope for Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Qazi Faez Isa's support. Instead of politics and favors, judicial appointments should adhere to the seniority principle,” he added.

He said judges can also be appointed from among lawyers because there is no restriction in the Constitution regarding this matter.

He further stated that currently, there are six vacant positions for judges in the Peshawar High Court, as well as vacancies in the Lahore High Court and the Sindh High Court. “A full JCP meeting should be requested to approve the rules,” he said.

At the JCP meeting on December 4, the CJ formed the committee to define the protocols for appointing judges to the superior judiciary. According to a news report published in The Express Tribune, the committee was expected to submit its recommendations to CJP Isa by January 15.

The PBC has persistently advocated for alterations in the JCP rules, proposing that the sole authority to select judges should not rest with the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
However, at the December 4 meeting, two JCP members, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Munib Akhtar, had expressed objections to the committee's formation at this juncture, especially in the absence of an elected government.

PBC member Advocate Akhtar Hussain highlighted that judge appointments, being a policy matter, have nevertheless been executed. Stressing the urgency of filling vacant positions in high courts, Hussain had urged the expeditious framing of judge nomination regulations.


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