ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the senior puisine judge of the Supreme Court, has requested Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to withdraw the names of the three junior judges who have been rejected by the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) in its last meeting of July 28.
“I most humbly request the Hon’ble Chairman to act constitutionally, legally and morally and withdraw the names of those junior judges who have already been rejected by the JCP,” Justice Isa requested in his Oct 21 letter to Justice Bandial who is JCP’s chairman.
The letter, partially reported on Saturday, was written against the backdrop of Monday’s scheduled meeting of the commission to consider nomination of Justice Shahid Waheed of Lahore High Court, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shafi Siddiqui of Sindh High Court, besides Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah, for their elevation to the apex court.
On Oct 22, Pakistan’s legal fraternity raised concerns over the move to reconsider for elevation to the Supreme Court the names of three judges, months after JCP had ‘rejected’ them, with the lawyers’ community vowing to challenge any such nomination, even if approved by the JCP in its Monday meeting.
The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Sindh Bar Council (SBC) have expressed concern through resolutions.
Says reconsideration disparages and disrespects JCP members
In his letter, Justice Isa asked the CJP to consider putting forward the names of the chief justices of the five high courts or, as proposed by two JCP members earlier, the chief justices together with the senior most judges of the five high courts, failing which let this constitute the agenda of the forthcoming meeting.
Referring to the recording of the last meeting of JCP on July 28 and then the release of its audio recording, Justice Isa regretted that the chairman did not disclose to the members then that the meeting was being “secretly recorded” and even did not take permission from JCP before releasing the audio.
If it had been disclosed that the meeting was being recorded and that its recording may be released, the members may have been more circumspect in expressing their views. Regrettably, the releasing of the audio by the head of the judiciary had undermined the credibility and authority of serving judges of the high court, the letter said.
The letter alleged that the chairman had also contradicted himself in the note when he stated that the JCP meeting was being “resumed” on Oct 24. The resumption of the meeting, after a period of about three months, was alien to the law and common sense, it said.
In any event, the composition of JCP has undergone a change since the last meeting, since one member has been retired and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah has become its member.
How the July meeting could be stated to be resumed on Oct 24 with a different agenda, he wondered.
Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2022