Lawyers to protest today over proposed appointment of SHC chief to SC

Published August 10, 2021
Lawyers have given a call to boycott court proceedings across Sindh. — AFP/File
Lawyers have given a call to boycott court proceedings across Sindh. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Three lawyers’ bodies of Sindh have given a call for boycotting legal proceedings throughout the province on Tuesday (today) against the proposed appointment of Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court.

Speaking at a press conference after a joint meeting of the Sindh Bar Council (SBC), Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) and Karachi Bar Association (KBA), the lawyers’ representatives said they would not appear before the courts on Tuesday when the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) would be meeting in Islamabad to consider the proposed appointment of CJ Shaikh to the apex court.

They expressed the hope that the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and other bar associations of the country would also support them in what they called their struggle for the appointment and elevation of judges on the principle of seniority.

SBC vice chairman Ziaul Hassan Lanjar, SHCBA president Salahuddin Ahmed and KBA president Naeem Qureshi deplored that the principle of seniority was not being followed in judicial appointments and the elevation of the high court judges to the SC.

“This time around a threat to the independence of the judiciary is coming from within the judiciary whose certain members are not ready to limit and control their discretion,” said Mr Ahmed.

He said it seemed that the JCP had not evolved criteria for the appointment and elevation of judges to the SC. “Sometimes the JCP prefers seniority, sometimes competence and sometimes command of a judge on certain nature of cases,” he said.

He added that such criteria were creating rift within the judiciary and among the judges as was witnessed during the hearing of some high-profile cases in the Supreme Court in the recent past.

SBC VC Ziaul Hassan Lanjar said an excuse was being made that in the past senior judges in high courts themselves had recommended elevation of junior judges. However, he said, it had now become clear that no such consent was given by the senior judges for the elevation of junior judges.

A press release issued after the joint meeting stated that in the first place “Article 182 of the Constitution does not even allow appointment of a Chief Justice as an ad hoc judge of Supreme Court and only permits a retired judge of Supreme Court or judge of a high court to be appointed”.

It added that even if a chief justice was conceived to be a judge of a high court, the consent of the chief justice of the province was required for the appointment of a judge under Article 182(b) of the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2021

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