KARACHI: The Sindh Bar Council (SBC) said on Saturday that the legal fraternity would boycott trials across the province on Monday to protest the appointment of junior judges by high courts for Supreme Court induction.
Speaking at a press conference at the SBC office, Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) members Akhtar Hussain and Syed Haider Imam Rizvi, representing the Pakistan Bar Council and SBC in the JCP, called for appointments in the Apex Court to be transparent and transparent after the Seniority principle instead of “pushing and manoeuvring”.
Accompanied by Zulfiqar Ali Jalbani, Deputy Chairman of the SBC, and others, they expressed their dismay at the decision of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, who is also Chairman of the JCP, despite having only two judges of the Sindh High Court (SHC) for their appointment three vacancies created after the retirement of as many judges belonged to Sindh.
The JCP is expected to meet on Monday to consider the names of Chief Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court, Justice Shahid Waheed of the Lahore High Court, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shafi Siddiqui of the SHC.
The SBC calls for Supreme Court justices to be appointed on the basis of seniority
They further said that three judge posts in the Apex Court have become vacant following the resignations of Judge Gulzar Ahmed, Judge Maqbool Baqar and Judge Sajjad Ali Shah, but only two judges have been nominated by the SHC.
They said the number of Punjab judges would increase to eight at the expense of Sindh judges.
At the last JCP meeting, the CJP itself emphasized the need to uphold informal provincial quotas and even ethnic balance within the Supreme Court, and the departure from this principle has caused great resentment in the smaller provinces, they added.
The lawyers’ representatives claimed that the Chief Justice of the SHC, Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh, was the senior judge on the country’s Supreme Court, but he had not been nominated for the Supreme Court appeal.
“By refusing to elevate him to the highest court even after five years, it is as if the Commission has sent a message to the people of Sindh that although Justice Shaikh may be considered good enough for them, he is not good enough for the people is from Pakistan,” they claimed.
They further stated that Judge Rizvi and Judge Siddiqui, who are fourth and sixth on the seniority list, respectively, along with Judge Waheed of the LHC, who is fourth on the seniority list, were re-nominated after their nominations were rejected by JCP on July 28 as an unjustified deviation from the seniority principle.
“It is speculated that the reason for the re-nomination of the same names is that the Attorney General and Justice Minister were persuaded to review their previous position that the seniority principle should not be departed from and that rules need to be formulated to meet the criteria for the appointment of judges to be governed,” they added.
They called on the JCP to appoint three senior judges of the SHC to the Supreme Court and to appoint the fourth in line as chief justice of the SHC.
Published in Dawn, October 23, 2022