ISLAMABAD, Jan 9: The government claimed on Wednesday that the Constitution did not assign superior courts judges the role of appointment or removal of their colleagues.

In a petition seeking review of the Supreme Court’s Dec 21 directive to notify the appointment of the two Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges, Attorney General Irfan Qadir said judges should not decide about the legality, propriety or impropriety of appointment or removal of fellow judges.

A five-judge bench had asked the president to appoint the two judges in line with the Sept 22, 2012, recommendations of the Judicial Commission (JC) which had been approved by the parliamentary committee concerned.

Instead of giving its opinion on a presidential reference on the matter, the court issued the directive on a petition filed by Advocate Nadeem Ahmed.

“Surely all judges are equal and are the appointees of the president and such role to the exclusion of everyone has been solely assigned to the president who eventually is to decide such issues after considering the input provided by PC, JC or the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) as the case may be,” the review petition said.

Advocate Nadeem Ahmed had filed on Tuesday through his counsel Advocate Akram Sheikh a contempt petition against President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Law Minister Farooq H. Naek and Law Secretary Yasmin Abbasey for wilful disobedience by not issuing notifications to appoint Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui as a regular judge and Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi as additional judge for six months in the IHC.

On Wednesday, the petitioner filed another application seeking hearing of his case on Jan 14 because of its importance.

In the review petition, the government said the terms and conditions of service of superior court judges were determined by the president under the 5th Schedule of the Constitution.

It said the Dec 21 order was contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution which nowhere prohibited the president from seeking re-consideration by judicial or parliamentary panel of nominations or confirmations sent to him.

It said arguments in the presidential reference had been concluded and it should have been decided by the court before issuing the order.

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