Superior judiciary going for ‘judicial dictatorship’: Asma

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LAHORE – Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Asma Jahangir has said that the judiciary under Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was heading towards “judicial dictatorship”, which was reflected by extra-lines of the (SC) judgement for removal of the NAB chairman and dubious working of the Judicial Commission (JC) on judges’ extension.
In a special chat on “the logics of sitting judiciary” at her Lahore office, Asma vigorously attacked the judiciary for its uncalled “waywardness” in the quest for grabbing “more powers” to pull down the authority of the parliament in all matters, whether it was question of appointments on key posts or judges’ induction.
The SCBA president said it was regrettable that the judiciary had not yet accepted the role of the parliamentary committee for the appointment of the judges and it was clearly shown by the SC judgment which had nullified the parliamentary committee’s decision of dropping six additional judges for the grant of one year extension in their service.
Referring to the SC judgement that removed Deedar Hussain Shah as the NAB chairman, Asma said the three-member SC bench not only declared Deedar’s appointment illegal, but also held that the CJP be consulted next time prior to making appointment of any man on the seat of NAB chairman.
She said that the SC judgement went extra miles against the parliament to make the observation that consultation with the CJP along with the opposition parties was mandatory for the government (parliament) before placing any person on the post of the NAB chairman.
The SCBA president said that the nation should imagine who would give relief if the man appointed with the CJP consultation turned out to be a wrongdoer someday, and in that case, the judiciary would also become party to the case of a wrong man’s appointment. She advocated the NAB chairman’s appointment through “consensus-oriented, purposeful and effective” consultation between the leader of the House and the leader of the opposition for the sake of transparency in the appointment.
She said as bar head, she owed it to her voters and the public to say what was right and the decision was up to the people. Asma said many lawyers also had reservations on the decision, but they hesitated speaking their minds, partly for their interests and partly due to the fear of the judiciary. She also urged parliament to finalise and approve the amended accountability law without further delay.
Asma said the SC verdict that set aside the parliamentary committee’s decision against the extension in judges’ service in a way decided the pending matters on the 18th and 19th Amendments, and had also highlighted one of the four members on the bench. She said decision has scrapped the role of the committee after debarring it from disagreeing with the recommendations of the Judicial Commission.