Judicial Commission rejected names of judges proposed by Chief Justice of Pakistan

 Judicial Commission rejected the names of five judges proposed by Chief Justice of Pakistan to elevate to Supreme Court by majority vote of 5 to 4

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) has rejected the 5 names of Judges of High Courts proposed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Atta Bandial. It was a majority decision as 5 members of JPC opposed the nominations of Chief Justice while 4 members supported the names.

According to sources JCP, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Tariq Masood, Attorney-General Ashtar Ausaf Ali, and Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar voted against all the five nominees.

The chief justice Umar Atta Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah voted in favour of the nominees, while Justice (retd) Sarmad Jalal Usmani voted in favour of three judges from PHC and LHC and voted against the SHC nominees.

CJP Bandial presided over the judicial commission's session, where a total of five judges, two from the Sindh High Court and three from the Lahore High Court (LHC), were considered. Upon receiving five votes against the nominees, the chief justice ended the session without reaching a decision. 

Had they been approved, then in line with Article 175-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, the JCP would have forwarded the list to the parliamentary committees for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court.

It is noteworthy that the anticipated JCP meeting had earned vehement criticisms from within the legal fraternity that smells “favouritism” in the appointments and has demanded a restructuring of the laws pertaining to appointments of the judges and the discretionary powers enjoyed by the CJP.

A day earlier, senior most judge of the Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa had advised CJP Umar Ata Bandial not to bulldoze the “due” process for appointment of more than one-third of the total number of judges in the apex court.

In a letter written to the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, headed by CJP Bandial, Justice Isa deplored the manner of summoning the JCP’s meeting to consider the elevation of high court judges to the Supreme Court.

Justice Isa said it was surprising that the JCP’s meeting had been convened to consider the appointment of five SC judges during summer vacations. Justice Isa stated in the letter that “while on my annual leave I received a WhatsApp message from the Additional Registrar of the Supreme Court informing me that the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan has convened a meeting of the JCP on 28 July 2022 to consider appointing five judges to the SC.

“When availing of annual leave no meeting of the JCP was scheduled but as soon as I left Pakistan the CJP decided to hold two meetings of the JCP to consider appointments to the Sindh and Lahore High Courts, and now a third unscheduled meeting of the JCP is to be held during the summer vacations of the SC.

He stressed the need that “all appointments must be made in accordance with the Constitution, on the basis of predetermined and non-discriminatory criteria. And above all without any impression of favouritism. The Constitution does not grant the CJP any powers additional to those of the other members of the JCP; the CJP is only designated as the Chairman of the JCP.”


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