ISLAMABAD: The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) on Thursday with the majority of five to four recommended the appointment of Justice Ayesha Malik, a judge of the Lahore High Court (LHC), as a judge of the apex court.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice (retd) Sarmad Jalal Usmani, Federal Minister of Law and Justice Farogh Naseem, and Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed, approved Justice Ayesha Malik’s name, while Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Maqbool Baqir, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) representative, Akhtar Hussain, opposed it.
Justice Malik will be first female judge to sit in the Supreme Court. She became the judge of the LHC in March 2012 and is currently on number four on the high court judges’ seniority list. Upon her elevation she will work as a Supreme Court judge until June 2031. She will also become Chief Justice of Pakistan after the retirement of Justice Yahya Afridi in January 2030.
Now the recommendation will be forwarded to the parliamentary committee on judges’ appointment for approval.
This is the second time that the JCP held a meeting to decide on Justice Malik’s elevation. Last year, on September 9, the Commission had rejected her elevation due to lack of consensus.
The lawyers on the call of the PBC have boycotted the courts and protested in various parts of the country.
PBC Vice-chairman on January 3, addressing a press conference, had given s call for boycott on January 6. He said that nomination of Justice Malik is violating the seniority principle, superseding three judges of the 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.
Justice Isa, who attended the Commission’s meeting via Skype, three days ago wrote a letter to the chief justice, wherein, he stated the CJP Gulzar Ahmed should have not proposed the names for appointing of six judges in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) and the one in the apex court a few weeks of his retirement. “I am surprised that just a couple of weeks before your retirement six nominees are proposed for appointment as judges of the Peshawar High Court and one to the Supreme Court,” he wrote in his letter.
Regarding the elevation of Justice Malik, he wrote that in view of the diverse opinions it has become imperative to determine criteria. “The merit versus seniority argument, as if both are mutually exclusive, is a canard.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022