Seeking reform: Petition challenges selection policy for high court judges

Terms the policy ‘against law and meritorious selection modes’.


Our Correspondent November 14, 2013
Terms the policy ‘against law and meritorious selection modes’. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: A constitutional petition was filed at the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) registry branch on Wednesday against the selection policy devised by the Judicial Commission of Pakistan for appointment of judges to high courts.

The petition, filed by District and Sessions/Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Syed Asghar Ali Shah, terms the current policy “against the Constitution, law and meritorious selection modes so far adopted and applied.”

The Federation of Pakistan was made a respondent through the secretary for Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs while, the Judicial Commission of Pakistan and Parliamentary Committee for Judges Appointment were also named respondents through their secretaries.

The petition states no eligibility criteria had been devised or fixed for the selection of high court judges.

“The independence of the judiciary can only be achieved through a pattern of selection devised to ensure appointments of those individuals who not only possess legal acumen and expertise but have proven record of patriotism, uprightness, dedication, devotion and hard work,” it adds.

The petitioner demanded the respondents be directed to visualise and devise a transparent, competitive and just selection policy which lays down eligibility criteria for candidates considered for the post of judges in high courts.

“If open competitive selection policy cannot be devised due to certain reasons or constitutional impediments, 50% quota may be allocated for the elevation of district and sessions judges to the post of high court judge,” it reads, adding the move will lead to healthy competition among judicial officers and lawyers.

The petition further stated if the right of district and sessions judges cannot be acceded to, then as an alternate they be declared entitled for promotion to Basic Pay Scale-22 with pension benefits by directing amendments in the relevant rules.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th,2013.

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