ISLAMABAD: The federal Law Ministry on Tuesday sent to President Asif Ali Zardari for formal approval a recommendation by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to elevate Justice Mian Saqib Nisar – a senior judge of the Lahore High Court – to the Supreme Court on a permanent basis, sources told Daily Times.
* CJ recommends elevation of Justice Nisar, appointment of Justice Ramday on ad hoc basis.
If the recommendation is approved, Justice Nisar would be appointed to the slot vacated by Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday – who retired on January 12.
The sources said the chief justice had also recommended Ramday’s name for appointment on ad hoc basis for a year.
The chief justice sent his recommendation to the ministry about three weeks ago.
The sources said a day before Dr Babar Awan took charge as federal law minister, federal Law Secretary Justice (r) Riaz Akhtar Kiyani wrote a note for the recommendation to be sent to the president the next day. But when Awan took charge on December 17, he stopped the recommendation and it had been pending since, as the government was “eager to promote” LHC Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif to the SC, said the sources.
While a few legal experts believe that under the principle of seniority, LHC Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif should be elevated to the SC – an overwhelming number believes that the elevation of any senior judge from the high courts to the SC is the sole discretion of the chief justice.
A large number of legal experts also believes that “the president’s approval is just a formality”. However, they say the president may reject the chief justice’s recommendations on the basis of “solid reasons”.
Government sources said the government had decided to act on the chief justice’s recommendation to prevent a confrontation with the country’s top judicial office.