LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) has also questioned the proposed elevation of a junior judge of the Sindh High Court (SHC) as an apex court judge.

A statement issued by LHCBA president Maqsood Ahmad Buttar expresses reservation over elevation of Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar of the SHC (who stood at serial No 5 on seniority list) to the Supreme Court.

It says that question arises, after the proposed elevation of a junior judge, whether all the four senior judges of the SHC do not meet the laid down criteria for elevation to the SC.

It maintains that the elevation of a junior judge is not only against the spirit of judgment of the Supreme Court in Al-Jihad Trust case, but also tantamount to demoralising senior judges of the SHC.

Expressing its concern over the elevation the LHCBA says: “Until Judicial Commission of Pakistan undertakes and completes framing of transparent rules and defines criteria for appointments to the apex court, it is perilous to discard the seniority principle.”

It further says the recent abandonment of the principle of seniority (especially with respect to the Sindh High Court and the Lahore High Court) has led to serious and visible friction, disunity and loss of morale among the judges of the respective high courts.

The statement says the LHCBA fully endorses a letter written by the Sindh High Court Bar Association to Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmad and all members of judicial commission with respect to following the criteria of seniority.

The LHCBA, however, appreciates the proposal for elevation of Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail as judge of the Supreme Court. It states that Justice Mandokhail is the senior most judge of Balochistan High Court, who fulfills the criteria for elevation.

Previously, the Supreme Court Bar Association had also expressed concern over the proposal to elevate the fifth most senior judge of the SHC to the SC.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2021

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