ISLAMABAD: In compliance with the prime minister’s directives, the federal law ministry will file a reference on Friday seeking advice of the Supreme Court under article 186 of the constitution on the issue of appointment of superior courts' judges.
The reference was signed by President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday and will be filed on his behalf by Federal Law Minister Farooq H. Naek.
A case pertaining to extension in tenure of two additional judges of the IHC had taken a new turn on Nov 23 after Attorney General Irfan Qadir had informed the court that the government wanted to file a presidential reference over the issue.
The AG conveyed the information to a four-member SC bench, which had taken up a petition of Advocate Nadeem Ahmed seeking issuance of a notification about six months’ extension for Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi and permanent appointment of Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC.
Analysts had regarded it as a smart move by the government to invoke the court’s advisory jurisdiction to settle once and for all issues relating to appointment of superior court judges.
Questioning the composition of judicial commission on judges’ appointments, he had sought two weeks time from the Supreme Court for filing the presidential reference citing the need of seeking legal opinion on all issues related to appointments of superior courts’ judges.
The reference, according to sources, would ask the Supreme Court what power the president enjoyed in selection of judges and whether the president needed to apply his mind or just endorse whatever recommendation he received.
The Judicial Commission (JC) had recommended the permanent appointment of additional judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and a six-month extension in the tenure of Noorul Haq N. Qureshi On October 22.
The nomination was approved by the Parliamentary Committee (PC) under article 175A inserted in the constitution under the 18th and 19th amendments.
Their terms expired on Nov 20 after the President House returned the recommendations to the JC with an observation to reconsider the nominations because the commission which had finalised the names had not been constituted properly.
The law ministry, however, had not issued a notification for extension in the tenure of these two judges and the matter is still pending before the Supreme Court for adjudication–PPI/Dawn