ISLAMABAD: Amid resolutions adopted by a number of bar associations in the country, the Supreme Court has fixed for hearing on April 4 a petition against the appointment of Justice Qazi Faez Isa as chief justice of the Balochistan High Court and his elevation to the Supreme Court.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will determine on April 4 whether the petition of Riaz Hanif Rahi, which has created quite a controversy in the country, is maintainable or not.

On March 13, Chief Justice Nisar during a chamber hearing overruled an objection raised by the Supreme Court registrar on the petition of Advocate Rahi last year with a directive to fix it before a bench to decide its maintainability.

The registrar office in its objection had stated that the petition prima facie appeared to be frivolous within the contemplation of Order 27, Rule 5 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980. Moreover, the petitioner did not seek enforcement of any fundamental rights while moving the petition under Article 194(3) of the Constitution, it said.

The petition seeks a declaration from the apex court against the notifications of Aug 5, 2009 and Sept 1, 2014 pertaining to the appointment of Justice Isa in the Balochistan High Court and the Supreme Court, respectively.

The petition argues that there exists no provision in the Constitution for direct appointment of the chief justice of a province and the guidance provided in Articles 196 and 200 of the Constitution was not followed (in Justice Isa’s case).

Likewise, it adds, the chief minister’s advice under Article 105 of the Constitution was mandatory for the appointment of Justice Isa as the chief justice of the high court and that the acting governor was not competent to forward the name of the judge as the chief justice of the high court. Because the appointment of the acting governor himself was a stop-gap arrangement to look after day-to-day affairs as held in many judgements, including the judges’ case (Al Jihad Trust case) of 1996.

The seniority of many other judges working in the Supreme Court was affected, who held the office in the respective high court prior to the appointment of Justice Isa, according to the petition.

It contends that many judges having much experience of judicial work have become junior to Justice Isa due to his appointment as the judge of the Supreme Court.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2018

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