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IHC Judges Appointment: SC orders govt to issue notification

22 December, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has directed the government to issue notifications of appointment of two Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges – Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and Noorul Haq N Qureshi – as judge and additional judge of the IHC, respectively, for six months with effect from the date of expiry of their earlier notifications.

A five-member bench of the apex court, headed Justice Khilji Arif Hussain on December 14 after hearing the arguments of Wasim Sajjad, counsel for federation, Attorney General for Pakistan Irfan Qadir, amici curiae former attorney general Makhdoom Ali Khan and Khwaja Haris, former advocate general Punjab and Akram Sheikh, counsel of petitioner had reserved the judgement.

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain has authored the two-page judgement. The judgement says it appears that the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) in its meeting on 22.10.2012, under the Article 175A of the constitution, recommended Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui as a permanent judge and Noorul Haq N Qureshi as an additional judge of IHC for six months from the date of expiry of their tenure as additional judges of the high court.

The Parliamentary Committee (PC) on receipt of the JCP nominations, after unanimous confirmation, sent the matter to the prime minister for forwarding to the president for appointment. The president apparently did not issue orders for appointment allegedly for the reason that one of the participants out of ten was not qualified to attend the meeting of the commission.

The court observed, "We are of the view that even if it is assumed that one of the members, being non-entity sat, voted and took part in the proceedings culminating in nomination, but it would not vitiate the proceedings when the Judicial Commission in view of Clause 8 of Article 175A of the Constitution has nominated by majority of its membership. We are supported in our view from the judgement reported as Managing Director, Sui Southern Gas Company LTD, Karachi v. Ghulam Abbas and Others (PLD 2003 SC 724)."

Meanwhile, active lawyer Chaudhry Faisal Hussain has contended that with this short order, the Supreme Court had reversed its July 31, 2009, decision, through which around 50 judges were removed because they were appointed through a wrong consultation that time. It is worth mentioning that the federation had also filed a presidential reference, invoking the court's advisory jurisdiction under Article 186 regarding the appointment of judges in superior judiciary, but the court has not yet given its opinion in this regard after reserving the judgement on December 14.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has refused to entertain the Pakistan Bar Council and Supreme Court Bar Association's separate petitions for becoming party in the presidential reference case because it has already reserved its judgement on December 14. According to the details, SCBA and PBC on Tuesday filed separate petitions in the Supreme Court to become parties in the president's reference with regard to the last decision of the Judicial Commission for the appointment of the chief justice of Islamabad High Court.

It must be noted that the superior bars have supported the questions of law raised by President Asif Ali Zardari in the reference, seeking judicial advice over the appointment of the judges in view of the 18th and 19th amendments and a constitutional petition filed against the delay of appointment of judges in the IHC.

End.

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