PESHAWAR: Supreme Court lawyer Mohammad Tariq Afridi on Monday moved the Peshawar High Court challenging a parliamentary committee’s decision to reject the Judicial Commission of Pakistan’s recommendation to appoint him as the additional judge of the high court.

In a petition, the lawyer requested the high court to declare that the parliamentary committee’s July 8 decision to reject the judicial commission’s recommendation for his appointment as the high court judge was not in line with the provisions of Constitution, so and it should be declared void.

He requested the court to issue appropriate directions to the federal government that by accepting recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan of July 2, 2019, his name be recommended to the president of Pakistan for appointment as the additional judge of Peshawar High Court for one year.

The petitioner said the court should declare that the parliamentary committee formed under Clause (9) of Article 175-A of the Constitution couldn’t sit in appeal over the recommendations of the judicial commission in respect of competency, calibre and integrity of a Supreme Court lawyer.

Insists reasons cited by parliamentary panel for not accepting judicial commission’s advice biased, mala fide

He also requested the court to declare that the parliamentary committee had no powers to veto the judicial commission’s decision, while for determining the competence, calibre and integrity of a lawyer recommended for appointment as the high court additional judge, the chief justice of the relevant high court and judicial commission had the exclusive jurisdiction and powers, which couldn’t be shared by any parliamentary committee.

The respondents in the petition are the federation of Pakistan through law secretary and parliamentary committee through its secretary.

The petition filed through senior Supreme Court lawyer Qazi Mohammad Anwar said as five PHC posts were vacant, the petitioner produced records of his professional competence, income tax and all relevant information on the directions of the high court’s chief justice.

The petitioner said the chief justice and relevant high court judges scrutinised his and others’ records and recommended five persons, including him, for appointment as the additional judges for one year.

He said the 13-member judicial commission examined the chief justice’s nominations on July 2 and 11 of its members okayed those candidates, including him, for appointment as additional judges and sent its recommendations to the parliamentary committee.

The petitioner said the committee rejected his nomination on July 8 and updated the judicial commission about it through the prime minister, so the federal government didn’t send his name to the president for appointment notification.

He said while rejecting his nomination, the committee had declared that reports of intelligence agencies showed that his financial conduct was not above board, he had a compromising attitude, he was professionally incompetent, and he violated rules and regulations.

The petitioner wondered if a parliamentary committee could veto the judicial commission’s selection.

He questioned whether while disagreeing with the judicial commission’s recommendation regarding him, the PC hadn’t made derogatory and damaging observations regarding his character and reputation and thus, ‘creating a stigma’, and had gone beyond scope of its authority.

The petitioner asked if the judicial commission or the parliamentary committee was the final authority to determine competence, calibre and integrity of a candidate recommended for the additional judge’s appointment.

He said the reasons given by the parliamentary committee for not confirming the judicial commission’s recommendations were biased, mala fide and perverse.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2019