Judges’ extensions – SC overturns parliamentary body’s decision

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ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court overturned on Friday a Parliamentary Committee decision rejecting a yearlong extension to six additional judges of the Lahore High Court (LHC) and Sindh High Court (SHC) and told the government to issue a notification granting the extension in line with the recommendations of the Judicial Commission in February.
A four-member bench comprising Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez heard two identical petitions challenging the decision of the PC. The PC had rejected the JC’s extension recommendations for the LHC judges namely Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali, Justice Syed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Mamood Rashid Sheikh and Justice Muhammad Farrakuh Irfan Khan and Justice Tasnim Aslam and Justice Salman Hamid of the SHC.
The JC had recommended names of 24 additional judges of the LHC out of which 20 were endorsed by the committee. Similarly, names of four additional judges out of a total six recommended by the JC were endorsed. Earlier, former attorney general Makhdoom Ali Khan, appearing in court as counsel for petitioners Munir Hussain Bhatti and Kamran Murtaza, rebutted the argument of Additional Attorney General KK Agha that the committee was constitutionally empowered to accept or reject the recommendations of the JC.
He argued that the JC had primacy over the decisions of the PC. He said the JC was a forum which could rightly decide cases of judges. A similar position was taken by SHC Bar Association President Anwar Mansoor Khan, also a petitioner. The petitioners had requested the court to set aside the recommendations of the committee the case of the six LHC and SHC judges.
The court was requested to tell the government to implement the JC’s recommendations. Agha had contended that the petitions questioning the
committee’s role in rejecting the extensions of the six judges were an attempt to cause prejudice over pending proceedings related to the 18th Amendment.