PHC CJ challenges elevation of three judges

Updated 12 Jun 2020

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Says he has been superseded thrice for no valid reason. — AFP/File
Says he has been superseded thrice for no valid reason. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: A sitting high court chief justice on Thursday questioned the elevation of three judges of the Lahore High Court to the Supreme Court and requested the top court to nullify the notification of their appointment.

Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) Waqar Ahmed Seth moved a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the elevation of Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin, Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Sayyed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi as Supreme Court judges.

The petition filed through senior counsel Hamid Khan said that the petitioner judge had been superseded thrice in the elevation to the Supreme Court for no valid reason or justification.

The petition argued that with the amendment of Article 175-A through the 19th Constitution Amend­ment, it had been a consistent practice that the vacancies of the Supreme Court judges were filled through appointments from among chief justices of high courts with due regard to their inter se seniority.

Says he has been superseded thrice for no valid reason

After the introduction of Article 175-A in the Constitution, most of the appointments to the apex court, except the appointment of the respondent judges, have been made from among chief justices of high courts.

The petition argued that independence of the judiciary was linked with the appointment of judges and transparency in the appointment of judges of the apex court was essential and basic principle for ensuring independence of the judiciary and certainty of the system.

The seniority of a chief justice of a high court had been given extra importance in Article 175-A of the Constitution by including their names in the Judicial Commission along with the next senior judge of the high court in the matter of appointment of additional judges of the high court, the petition contended.

The chief justice whose ability and competence in the matter of selecting a future judge of the high court was recognised by the constitution should not be superseded in the appointment of the judge of the Supreme Court, the petition argued.

The inter se seniority of the judges of the high courts had also been recognised by Article 209 of the Constitution since the two senior most chief justices of the high courts were the members of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), where the conduct of the judges of the superior judiciary was scrutinised, it said.

The petition alleged that the respondent judges till their elevation as judges of the Supreme Court were junior judges of the Lahore High Court and were discharging their functions under the chief justices of the high court.

Thus the chief justice of the Lahore High Court, if elevated as the Supreme Court judge today, would be junior to the respondent judges, an anomaly which was not curable under the constitution, the petition argued.

It referred to May 19 Sindh Bar Council’s letter to the chief justice of Pakistan in which the bar council had conveyed the concern of the legal community on the recent appointment of the judges to the Supreme Court.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2020