SC suspends recommendations over SHC additional judges’ names

The Supreme Court on Monday suspended Parliamentary Committee’s recommendations over rejection of names of two Additional Judges of Sindh High Court.

A four-member bench of Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Jawwad S. Khawja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez issued directive on a constitutional petition filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution by Sindh High Court Bar Association through its president Anwer Mansoor Khan.

The bench also barred the competent authorities from issuance of any notification in this regard.

Anwer Mansoor Khan apprised the bench that the parliamentary committee had rejected extension period of two additional judges including justice Muhammad Tasnim and justice Salman Hamid though the Judicial Commission had granted them further extension.

He contended that it was against the constitutional provisions.

He said interim measures should be taken to allow these judges to function.

He prayed that decision of the parliamentary committee of February 22 regarding non confirmation/extension of the two additional judges should be set aside.

Earlier, Makhdoom Ali Khan, counsel for Munir Hussain Bhatti advocate and Kamran Murtaza advocate, continued his arguments over the rejection of four names of additional judges of the Lahore High Court.

KK Agha, additional attorney general for Pakistan, appeared and stated that the pleas were non-maintainable as these did not involve any issue of public importance.

About reasons for rejection of their nominations, he said the bench members could have access to them as these were submitted with the secretary of Judicial Commission.

He emphasized that these reasons should be made public.

“Let the reasons be made public. There should be transparency in all walks of life. Let the people see these reasons themselves,” he added.

Justice Jawwad S. Khawja agreeing with his opinion observed why should not trust people!

He said because of shortage of judges, backlog of cases had increased and the issue should be resolved soon.

Makhdoom Ali Khan questioned the role and scope of parliamentary committee and asked the Court to determine its jurisdiction.

He said the Court had to determine the powers of Committee whether it could sit over entire recommendations of the Judicial Commission.

He argued that Committee had limited role.

Citing a judicial verdict, he said the apex Court had already defined the additional judges under Article 168 and held that they could be only removed under Article 209.

He said their pleas could be treated in the category of fundamental rights like the cases decided on issue of MacDonalds, civil servants etc.

Further hearing was adjourned till Tuesday.

The Judicial Commission and forwarded/recommended extension in service of 24 Judges of LHC for one year period to the Parliamentary Committee but the Committee accepted the recommendations of Judicial Commission by endorsing recommendations over 20 Judge while rejecting names of four judges including Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali, Justice Syed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Mamood Rashid Sheikh and Justice Muhammad Farrakuh Irfan Khan without sound reasons.

The same bench had already suspended these recommendations in its earlier proceedings.