ISLAMABAD: A member of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan has requested Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to reconstitute the JCP rules committee on an urgent basis to formulate and finalise criteria for the appointment of superior court judges.

An informed source told Dawn that a three-page May 20 letter written by one of the JCP members, Akhtar Hussain, who also represents the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), suggested that the rules committee be headed by senior puisne judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

The letter said that there appeared to be a consensus that some objective criteria for the appointment of judges in the superior courts should be laid down in which emphasis should be given to the seniority principle.

The letter highlighted that for the purpose of appointment in the Supreme Court, particulars had been called from 12 senior judges of the Sindh High Court and five from the Lahore High Court. This, the letter added, had caused a stir among the members of the bar and high court judges, who feared that the seniority principle might be by-passed again.

It contended that the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) — the regulatory body of lawyers — had recently called a meeting of the nominees of all provincial and Islamabad bar councils in the JCP and resolved to place before the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) that no fresh elevation be made in the superior courts before carrying out amendments to the JCP rules 2010 and developing criteria.

The letter stated that the issue of transparency with greater objectivity in the appointment of judges in the superior courts was under regular discussion not only at the bar level but also before the intelligentsia, media and public at large since the 18th and 19th constitutional amendments.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2022

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