'SC judges to be appointed on basis of seniority'

The Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment unanimously approved on Tuesday the constitutional amendment to change the process of judges’ appointment, their removal and exercise public interest jurisdiction under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.

Chaired by Senator Farooq H Naek, the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Appointment Of Judges In Superior Courts was held at the Parliament House.

It was attended by Secretary Senate of Pakistan Mohammad Qasim Samad Khan, Senators and MNAs, Azam Nazeer Tarar, Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti, Ali Muhammad Khan, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Rana Sanaullah.

The committee unanimously approved the constitutional amendments in the relevant provision of the constitution regarding the judiciary. The amendments had been proposed by the chairperson of the committee, Senator Farooq.

The committee decided that the Supreme Court (SC) judges will be appointed on the basis of seniority, which shall be determined by their dates of appointment as a judge of a high court. If the judges’ appointment dates coincided, the decision will be made based on the basis of their age.

They further decided that ad hoc and acting judges of the SC will be appointed based on the parliamentary committee's confirmation.

The committee also approved an amendment in Clause 3 of Article 184 of the Constitution, according to which when suo motu powers in human rights cases are exercised by the SC, the case would be heard by three judges of the apex court.

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Appeal against the order can be filed within 30 days and would be decided by five SC judges within 60 days.

It was further decided that if an appeal against an order under this Article was made, the order appealed against shall not be implemented during the pending decision.

Moreover, the committee approved the recommendation that the age of retirement for high court judges will be increased from 62 years to 65 years, similar to SC judges.

The committee also approved an amendment in Article 209 of the Constitution. The parliamentarians decided that a reference on the account of misconduct against a judge of the superior judiciary will be decided by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) within 90 days.

Furthermore, Article 175-A of the Constitution was also discussed, that states the manner of dealing with the appointment of judges of the SC as well as the composition of the SJC.

The committee decided that the issue will be further deliberated in the next meeting.

Furthermore, the committee decided to invite Federal Minister for Law and Justice Dr Farogh Naseem in the next meeting.

(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)