Govt, SC face off over judges’ extension

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ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Thursday suspended the recommendations of the parliamentary committee (PC) that rejected a one year extension in the service of four additional judges of the Lahore High Court and restrained respondents from issuing any notification in pursuance of the committee’s recommendations.
A two-member bench of Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja was hearing a joint constitutional petition filed by Munir Hussain Bhatti and Kamran Murtaza advocates challenging the recommendations of rejecting the one year extension in the service of LHC’s four additional judges.
“Since important questions relating to interpretation of the constitution, justiciability of the decision of the parliamentary committee and other similar matters arise in this case and it is also a case of first impression, notice is issued to the respondents,” the court’s short order said.
The bench suggested constitution of a larger bench to examine the issues arising in the petition. Makhdoom Ali Khan, lawyer for the petitioners, contended that only the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) under Article 175A had the authority of appointing judges to the superior courts.
He said after being scrutinised in detail, the JCP recommended and forwarded the names of LHC’s 24 additional judges to the committee for a one year extension in their service, but the committee accepted the recommendations of only 20 judges and rejected the names of the remaining four.
He said the JCP had made its recommendation after due consideration, adding that the LHC chief justice had recommended the names of these four Judges for appointment in the court. Khan said the committee had so far not given its reasons for not confirming the nomination of the four judges, which the attorney general confirmed.
The lawyer said despite various requirement of the constitution, the committee did not give reasons of rejecting the four names.