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ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa, senior puisne judge, again drew the attention of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial towards the posts of judges in the Supreme Court, lying vacant since February 2022.

He wrote a letter to CJP Bandial, who is also chairman of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), which stated; “Over 50,000 cases have accumulated in the Supreme Court. The chief justice and 16 judges constitute the Supreme Court. However, there are five vacancies in the Supreme Court, which works out to 726 lost days. It pains me to state that the cases filed in the Supreme Court are unlikely to ever get decided if the vacancies are not filled-in.”

Justice Gulzar Ahmed retired on 1st February 2022 and since his retirement 239 days have passed but no judge has been appointed in his place. Similarly, Justice Qazi Amin Ahmed retired on 25th March, and 187 days passed after his retirement, Justice Maqbool Baqir retired on 4th April, and 177 days passed, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel retired on 13th July and 77 days passed, and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah retired on 13th August and 46 days passed. Thus, a total of 726 days have passed after the retirement of five judges, but during this period no judge in the Supreme Court has been appointed.

“The people of Pakistan have invested heavily in the Supreme Court, which employs about 700 staff and has a considerable budget. Therefore, it is not understandable why the Supreme Court is working at a 30 percent reduced capacity. Every passing day that the five vacancies remain unfilled add to the existing mountain of cases, threatening to render it insurmountable, which may leave the Supreme Court dysfunctional. The same staff and money which would serve a full court also serves a truncated one; therefore, there is a needless haemorrhaging of resources.”

The constitution requires that expeditious justice be ensured and this responsibility falls upon the Supreme Court, of which you are the chief justice. We must not let down the people of Pakistan, erode their confidence in the Supreme Court and continue to waste their hard-earned money.

“Sir, I have repeatedly called upon you to do your constitutional duty, and let the members of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan do theirs.” He requested the chief justice; “Please convene a meeting of the Commission immediately to enable the Commission to nominate judges to the Supreme Court.”

The JCP comprises nine members including the chief justice who acts as the Commission’s chairman.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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