ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has so far not taken any decision on appointment of two Supreme Court judges as he has not received any request from the apex court, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar told Dawn on Monday.
However, the statement said that “no decision has yet been taken on the issue” reflected that the presidency had received the request, but President Zardari had not taken a decision on this.
“The president had left the presidency last week for a visit to Lahore and other parts of Punjab and till the time he was in the presidency no such request for appointment of judges was received,” he said.
On the other hand, sources said that Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had sent a request to the president seeking his consent for elevation of two Lahore High Court judges—Chief Justice Khawaja Sharif and Justice Saqib Nisar.
Article 177 of the Constitution says: “The Chief Justice of Pakistan shall be appointed by the president and each of the other judges shall be appointed by the president after consultation with chief justice.”
Article 260, defining the word ‘consultation’, says: “[Consultation], shall, save in respect of appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, means discussion and deliberation which shall not be binding on the president.”
Al Jihad ruling
A senior lawyer Habib Wahabul Kheri, said under the ruling in Al Jihad Trust case, the president was bound to accept the recommendations of the chief justice on appointment of judges.
However, the president has powers to return such summaries back to the chief justice, but he has to give solid reasons for disapproving them.
Under the Al Jihad Trust case, the president has no power to appoint any judge on his own because the verdict of the case was based on a concept of empowerment of judiciary.
“The chief justice can be the best person to decide the appointment of judges.”
Another senior lawyer, Akram Sheikh, said in the appointment of judges of Supreme Court, the chief justice continued to enjoy primacy and the role of president was subject to consensus and consultation.
“The president has no direct say either on appointment of apex court judges or a constitutional committee to veto them,” he said.