Threatens to stop review meeting, stall judge’s appointments.
A parliamentary panel, unhappy at how it has been reduced to the level of a rubber stamp, has threatened to stop convening its meetings to review recommendations of the Judicial Commission unless the government amends the Constitution and allows it greater power to determine appointments of superior court judges.
As the parliamentary committee on appointment of judges met on Thursday to consider the latest recommendations of the Judicial Commission on appointing jurists to the superior judiciary, it lamented how it had been limited to approving the nominations handed to it.
“The parliamentary committee feels that it has become a rubber stamp to approve or confirm a nomination sent by the Judicial Commission,” the panel said in a statement after Thursday’s meeting.
“While considering the nominations made for the elevation of two Judges from Lahore High Court to the Supreme Court, some members were of the opinion that these were not based on any quota or seniority basis,” the committee’s statement stated.
“Some of the committee members had observations and reservations, based on the record available with the members and the committee, as well as (information) provided by the relevant agencies,” the committee said, adding, “However, the committee members were of the unanimous opinion that their confirmation or non-confirmation was immaterial.”
It went on to observe that when the committee made decisions other than those recommended by the commission, they had been overruled by the high courts on the basis of judgments given by the Supreme Court.
“In view of this the committee unanimously was of the considered opinion that meetings of the committee are not only a burden on the exchequer but also a waste of time as committee’s recommendations carry no weightage in view of the pronounced judgments” it observed, as it announced that it will not hold any further meetings to consider the Judicial Commission’s recommendations till it can contribute meaningfully in the process of appointing judges in the Superior Courts.
If the committee does not convene to deliberate on recommendations of the judicial council, it would stall the entire process of appointing judges and lead to a potential clash between the judiciary.
The committee has already drafted a constitutional amendment bill after long and detailed discussions with legal experts, bar councils and bar associations of the country. It had subsequently asked the law ministry to initiate the process of tabling the bill before parliament.
The panel, though, eventually accepted it as a forgone reality and confirmed the nominations made by the commission and rubberstamped its approval for granting year-long extensions to four additional judges of the Peshawar High Court.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2015.