Petition filed in SC against ad-hoc judges’ extension


LAHORE – A constitutional petition has been moved before the Supreme Court against the full court resolution carried on February 14 to seek extension in the ad-hoc service of two judges of the Supreme Court.
The petition filed by Watan Party in the Lahore Registry of the court, has also prayed to the court to do away with the scheme of appointing ad-hoc judges as envisaged through the Judicial Commission under the 18th constitutional amendment, and that the lower age of appointing the high court judges may be cut down to 40 years from the existing 45 in order to provide the judges a longer period to serve with the superior judiciary.
Through Barrister Zafarullah Khan, the petition assails the resolution carried unanimously by the 17 judges of the Supreme Court on February 14 terming it unprecedented in the judicial history to seek reappointment as ad-hoc judges, Khalilur Rehman Ramday and Rahmat Ali Jaffry. It says the resolution conflicted with Supreme Court decision passed on the 18th amendment in October last which authorises the Judicial Commission for this purpose.
Hence the impugned resolution is a negation of the SC decision, the petitioner says, adding that the resolution appears a bid to build pressure on the president to accept the ad-hoc appointment of the two judges. Moreover the demand made through the resolution is also contradictory to the stand taken by the SC in a case being heard at present to discourage the after service reappointment of public functionaries.
It further says ad-hoc appointment runs counter to the Al-Jihad case of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The petitioner has also questioned composition of the present Judicial Commission, contending that it comprises of two senior judges of the Supreme Court, besides Chief Justice of Pakistan as head of the Commission, not withstanding the fact, the number of judges has been raised to four under the 19th constitutional amendment that needs to be implemented.
The petitioner contends if workload is a problem necessitating appointment of ad-hoc judges, the problem could be addressed by way of reducing the lower age of judges to enable them a longer stay in service as well as by increasing the number of permanent seats in the SC. The passage of the resolution under the challenge had attracted a reaction from the legal fraternity. Pakistan Bar Council, SCBA, and PBC had disagreed with the decision of the full court and announced to resist the ad-hoc appointments.
In a subsequent development, the implementation of the resolution was deferred at the level of the Judicial Commission.