ISLAMABAD: The legal fraternity on Monday announced to boycott on January 6 all court proceedings from the Supreme Court to lower courts in case the ensuing meeting of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) was not postponed.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, being the Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), has proposed for second time the elevation of Justice Ayesha A Malik of the Lahore High Court to the Supreme Court.
The Chief Justice has convened the meeting of Judicial Commission of Pakistan on January 6 for deliberation over the elevation of Justice Ayesha A Malik to the Supreme Court, who is on seniority list No 4 of the Lahore High Court (LHC).
The meeting of representatives of Pakistan, provincial/Islamabad Bar Councils, Supreme Court Bar Association and all the High Court Bar Associations was held here at the Supreme Court Building on Monday and once again showed its commitment to the independence of the judiciary, rule of law and establishment of real democratic institutions in the country.
Later, briefing the media, Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council Khushdil Khan along with Chairman Executive of the Pakistan Bar Council Masood A Chisti and others said that the representative meeting unanimously decided in consultation with President, Supreme Court Bar Association, Muhammad Ahsan Bhoon, on telephone that boycott of all court proceedings from Supreme Court to lower courts shall be held on January 06, 2022, in case the ensuing meeting of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan on January 06, 2022, was not postponed/recalled.
He further said that the meeting also showed full respect to the judiciary and the Judicial Commission of Pakistan as institutions; however, the Bar consistently stands with the seniority principle for the purposes of elevations/appointments of judges in the Hon’ble Supreme Court, as also laid down in the Al-Jehad Trust Case and believes that violation thereof, will create further divisions not only between Bar and the Bench but will also create further dissension and frustration within the judiciary this view is further fortified by the prevailing situation in the Sindh High Court.
Khushdil Khan further said that the representative meeting has taken serious note of once again nomination of Justice Mrs Ayesha Malik, for appointment in the Supreme Court violating the seniority principle, superseding three judges of the Lahore High Court including the Chief Justice, who are not only senior to her in service but also senior in legal practice before their elevation to the High Court, particularly when their integrity and competence is not in question.
When asked when the Chief Justice of Pakistan is making history while elevating a female judge to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, then why they were opposing her elevation, Khushdil Khan said that they were not against anyone nor they were opposing but the appointment should be made in accordance with the judgments of the Supreme Court and if desired so, then Parliament should be asked to make amendments in the Constitution.
He said that the Constitution talks about seniority, merit as well competency therefore it must be followed. “There is a senior female lawyer available at Peshawar High Court, then why she was not elevated to the Supreme Court”, Khushdil Khan asked.
To another question that earlier junior judges from high courts were elevated to the Supreme Court but why they kept mum over the issue and now opposing the elevation of Justice Ayesha A Malik, Khushdil Khan simply replied that they had raised the issue with the passage of time adding that whenever, irregularities were made in the judiciary, they had raised their voice. Briefing the media, he said that the representative meeting also holds that the Bar is consistently demanding for laying down the criteria for elevation of judges in the superior judiciary not only for appointments in the Supreme Court but also in the High Courts and the Federal Shariat Court.
The Bar is of the view that the detailed criteria for elevation and appointment of judges in the superior courts is to be laid down by the Judicial Commission of Pakistan in consultations with the Bar and the Parliamentary Committee who are all equal stakeholders, he said.
He further said that the representatives of the Bar Councils in the Judicial Commission of Pakistan for the last more than three years are also demanding amendments in the Judicial Commission Rules, 1980. The Rules are admittedly very sketchy but no heed is being paid to such very valid and genuine demands, therefore, this meeting is of the considered view that no further appointment in the Supreme Court be made till the detailed criteria viz-a-viz taking into consideration the seniority principle and so also the amendments in the Judicial Commission of Pakistan Rules, 1980 for such appointments are made.
He said that this representatives meeting would further like to bring to the notice of the Chief Justice of Pakistan about his own well-founded principle that no Chief Justice should initiate process of any elevation/appointment in the superior judiciary nearing his end of tenure, therefore, they with all humility request the Chief Justice of Pakistan to recall the January 06, 2022, meeting of Judicial Commission of Pakistan for appointment of Justice Mrs. Ayesha Malik, in the Supreme Court.
“The representative meeting also resolved to approach the parliament and all the political parties for amendments in Article 175A and Article 209 of the Constitution with regard to appointment of judges in the superior courts and removal thereof,” he added.