ISLAMABAD: Superior bars have expressed reservations over the powers of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) chairman (the chief justice of Pakistan) and sought the transfer of the chairman’s powers to the commission regarding the appointment of judges of the superior courts.
Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Syed Qalbi Hassan while talking to Daily Times said that lawyers were demanding that the JCP’s rules be amended immediately, and they had already submitted a draft of the proposed amendments in rules 2, 3, 6 and 8 of the JCP about the appointment of judges.
He said that the PBC had decided to send a request to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry for summoning a special meeting of the JCP to consider lawyers’ proposed amendments in JCP Rules 2010.
He said that the proposed amendments in rules were being endorsed by every section of lawyers.
He also said that PBC, in the interest of the country, had decided to send its representatives in the commission’s meetings, but if the commission would not consider their proposed amendments in the JCP rules, they might again boycott the process regarding the appointment of judges.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Yasin Azad, lawyers’ representative in the commission, also told Daily Times that in view of the superior bars’ concerns, he would again request the CJP to summon a special meeting of the commission soon.
It is worth to mention here that in their proposed amendments, the lawyers unanimously demanded that the JCP secretary should be nominated by the commission. Presently, the JCP chairman (CJP) appoints the secretary of the commission and presently the Supreme Court registrar, Dr Faqir Hussain, is serving on the post.
Lawyers have also recommended that the JCP’s committee on any matter should not be constituted by the chairman alone, but also by the entire commission.
Regarding the relaxation of rules, the apex body of lawyers unanimously suggested that the whole commission and not just the chairman should have the authority to relax strict application of the rules in public interest. The PBC recommended that before initiating and sending proposed names of the judges to the commission, the superior bars’ representatives in the JCP should be consulted, and this consultation should be meaningful.
Earlier, there was a severe deadlock between the superior judiciary and the superior bars regarding the appointment of judges; therefore, the PBC representative, attorney general of Pakistan and the law minister did not attend the commission’s meetings.
Dr Khalid Ranjha had attended the commission’s meetings as a representative of the PBC during the last two years, and his tenure ended in November 2012. Later on, the lawyers decided not to nominate their new representative until their grievances were resolved regarding the appointment of judges.
On April 20, the PBC nominated Muhammad Yaseen Azad as its representative after a five-month boycott of the commission’s proceedings. It has been learnt that during his first meeting on April 23, Azad was informed that a special meeting of the JCP would be summoned soon to consider the PBC’s proposed amendments in the commission.