Bar associations, councils oppose appointment of women judges on quota basis



The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) on Tuesday unanimously opposed a private member’s bill in the Senate Law Committee, seeking representation of women judges in the superior judiciary on quota system.

The meeting of the Senate Committee on Law and Justice held at Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Murtaza Javed Abbasi discussed “the Supreme Court Number of Judges (Amendment) Bill” moved by Senator Zaheeruddin Babar.

The bill calls for appointment of “at least one-third female judges” in the Supreme Court, one each from the four provinces and Islamabad and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

SCBA President Ali Zafar suggested the quota system in the judiciary was discouraged and the merit was followed. “There is shortage of senior women judges and lawyers in the high courts, and in such a situation this bill will not be applicable,” he said. IHCBA President Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri said that according to the bill, there should be at least six women judges, out of 17, in the Supreme Court. He questioned, “What they would do if tomorrow they could not find out a woman lawyer fulfilling the requirements and qualification criteria for the appointment as judge in the superior courts. Will that seat be kept vacant?”

Representatives of the Islamabad Bar Council and Punjab Bar Council also opposed the bill and suggested that it was deferred.

After hearing the opinion, the committee deferred the bill because of Zaheeruddin Babar’s absence.

The committee also discussed the matter raised by Senator Saeed Ghani regarding recalling/withdrawal of order by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman wherein acting/current charges were given to various officers of the NAB in violation of the rules and reappointment of same officers on the same day in Own Pay Scale.

Committee’ Chairman Javed Abbasi and member Farooq H Naek directed the NAB director general to provide list of officers who were on deputations, their grades and date of absorption in Bureau within one week.

Discussing the proposed amendments in the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority Act, 1996, the committee directed the additional secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology to prepare a draft for enhancing penalties on corrupt people and decreasing the discretionary powers of PSQCA officials.