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ISLAMABAD: The top bodies of lawyers, unanimously, decided to boycott the courts proceedings on January 6, 2022, if the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) does not recall its scheduled meeting to recommend elevation of Justice Ayesha Malik to the apex court.

Vice-chairman PBC Khushdil Khan, along with the Council’s Executive Committee Chairman Masood Chisti, on Monday briefed the media about the decision of the meeting, which was participated by the representatives of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the provincial/Islamabad Bar Councils, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), and all the high court bar associations of the country.

He said that the meeting took serious note of once again nomination of Justice Malik, for appointment in the Supreme Court. It is violating the seniority principle, superseding three judges of the Lahore High Court (LHC) including its chief justice, who are not only senior to her in service but also senior in legal practice before their elevation to the High Court, particularly, when their integrity and competence is not in question, he added.

He told that the representatives of the bar councils and associations have once again showed commitment to the independence of the judiciary, rule of law and establishment of real democratic institutions in the country.

The meeting also showed full respect to the judiciary and the JCP as Institutions. He said bars consistently stands with the seniority principle for the purposes of elevations/ appointments of the judges in the Supreme Court, as also laid down in the Al-Jehad Trust Case and believes that violation thereof, will create further divisions not only between Bar and the Bench but will also create further dissention and frustration within the judiciary; this view is further fortified by the prevailing situation in the Sindh High Court.

The PBC vice chief said the Bars are consistently demanding for laying down the criteria for elevation of judges in the superior judiciary not only for appointment in the Supreme Court but also in the High Courts and the Federal Shariat Court.

He further said that the Council is of the view that the detailed criteria for elevation and appointment of judges in the superior courts is to be laid down by the JCP in consultations with the Bar and the Parliamentary Committee who are all equal stakeholders.

The representatives of the Bar Councils in the JCP from last more than three years are also demanding for amendments in the Judicial Commission Rules, 1980, which Rules are admittedly very sketchy but no heeds is being paid to such very valid and genuine demands; therefore, this meeting is of the considered view that no further appointment in the Supreme Court be made till the detailed criteria vis-à-vis taking into consideration the seniority principle and so also the amendments in the Judicial Commission of Pakistan Rules, 1980 for such appointment are made.

This representatives meeting would further like to bring to the notice of the Chief Justice of Pakistan about his own well-founded principle that no Chief Justice should initiate process of any elevation/ appointment in the Superior Judiciary nearing his end of tenure; therefore, this meeting with all humility requests the Chief Justice of Pakistan to recall the January 6, 2022, meeting of JCP for appointment of Justice Malik, in the Supreme Court. This representative meeting also resolved to approach the Parliament and all the political parties for amendments in Article 175A and Article 209 of the Constitution with regard to appointment of judges in the Superior Courts and removal thereof.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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