Judges’ appointments: Panel seeks to define, separate roles of JCP, PC

Recommendations to be forwarded to parliamentary committee by August 7: Naek.

Qamar Zaman July 23, 2014


A sub-committee said on Tuesday that it will soon finalise a draft carrying recommendations on how to strike a balance between the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) and the Parliamentary Committee on Judges’ Appointment.

The recommendations will then be presented to the parliamentary committee. Former Senate chairman Farooq H Naek said the draft will be finalised on August 7.

The sub-committee held an in-camera session on Tuesday, attended by Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel from ANP and Naveed Qamar from the PPP. Members of the sub-committee discussed recommendations forwarded by various political parties.

“We have discussed each clause of the report based on suggestions of political parties and compared it with the 18th and 19th constitutional amendments,” Naek said.

“We are working on defining the role of the JCP and PC and how the process of the appointment of superior courts judges will take place,” Naek said. “No one’s [JCP and PC] powers will be curtailed,” he added.

Naek said that previously, the powers of the JCP and PC had overlapped. “We want to make sure that neither interferes with the other’s authority,” he said. “This is being done so that the country can have the best judges and an independent judiciary.”

In the past, the appointment of superior courts judges were made by heads of the judiciary and executive but the mechanism was revised during the Pakistan Peoples Partys (PPP) last tenure.

Under the new procedure, the JCP is empowered to nominate and recommend suitable persons for vacant positions of judges while the PC endorses or reject the recommendations.

Senior jurists believe that after the issuance of the top court’s May 2011 judgment in the Muneer Bhatti case, the PC is becoming ineffective as compared to the JCP, which remains dominant in the process of appointments.

According to the judgment, “If the committee rejects the JCP’s proposed names, the high courts can set it [the committee decision] aside as has been done in the past.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.