ISLAMABAD: A senior member of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on Monday expressed his scepticism through a letter to the body, suggesting that it reconsider its demand to fill the vacant office of a judge in the Supreme Court through elevation among lawyers.

Recently, the executive committee of the PBC demanded appointment from lawyers to serve on the bench in the Supreme Court against the current vacancy after superannuation of retired Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed.

In the letter to the PBC, Raheel Kamran Sheikh proposed a number of suggestions by stating that he was somewhat sceptical about the demand put forth by the executive committee.

As the Latin maxim said that the law was written on sleeves of the judges, competence was a necessary but not sufficient condition to be a good judge, the letter says, adding that juristic ability, temperament, sense of responsibility and above all sense of justice and fairness were a few other pre-requisites for becoming a judge.

A brilliant lawyer might turn out to be a disappointment as a judge, the letter says, adding that this might well be because of the differences in the roles and absence of one or more of these prerequisites. Should the Supreme Court, which is the ultimate forum for the dispensation of justice, be made a testing ground to ascertain one’s abilities to serve on the bench, the letter poses a question.

It goes on to say that at the high courts level, the practice of appointments as Additional Judges for a certain period serves the system better, otherwise all those who were not confirmed would have been serving on the bench notwithstanding one or the other shortcoming.

“Indeed it does carry with it the fear that an additional judge may hesitate to act boldly in certain types of cases, however, the benefits clearly outweigh such limited conservatism as the process carries with it a good possibility of re-evaluating credentials to serve on the bench after initial appointment,” the letter said.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2019