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No role of president, PM in judges’ appointment: SC

No role of president, PM in judges’ appointment: SC

ISLAMABAD, (SANA): The Supreme Court of Pakistan said President and Prime Minister haveno discretionary powers and no role for the appointment of judges in the superior courts, as the president is bound to implement recommendations of judicial commission and parliamentary committee in the appointment of judges.

A five member bench headed by Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and comprising of Justice Tariq Parvez, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had reserved its judgment on December 21, 2012 on the presidential reference seeking advice regarding the judges’ appointment.

The bench said President’s role in judges’ appointments, is merely nominal. The ruling says JC can give reasons for not raising the senior judge as the chief justice. No member but the concerned chief justice can appoint any judge. The court said that after the 18th and 19th amendments of the constitution the role of president and prime minister is nominal.

Under the constitution separate parliamentary committees have been set up for the appointment of chief election commissioner and caretaker prime minister. According to constitution if matter of appointment of caretaker PM would not be resolved between the prime minister and opposition leader then the matter would be referred to the committee. After the recommendations of the judicial commission and parliamentary committee there is no role of president and prime minister.

The 102-page ruling responds to as many as 13 questions posed in the presidential reference moved under article 186 of the constitution seeking court’s opinion over the role of the president in appointment of judges by the presidency. The court reserved it on December 14.

The order further stated that the president is bound to take advice of the prime minister in appointing chief election commissioner, caretaker prime minister, chairman Public Service Commission and chief of armed forces.

The court had ordered to appoint Anwar Kasi as Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court after the majority ruled in his favour.

Justice Aijaz Afzal Khan wrote an additional note to the ruling and held Justice Riaz as the most senior judge. In his dissent note, he wrote that Justice Riaz, as the most senior judge, deserves the right to expect becoming the chief justice.

It was also mentioned in the verdict that except the Chief Justice of Pakistan and Chief Justice of High Court, no one else has the authority to nominate judges in high court.

It may be noted that President Asif Ali Zardari had sought clarity on his role in the appointment of judges through a reference, which was filed by the law ministry and sought advice on 13 points as per Article 186.

Barrister Wasim Sajjad, the counsel of the federal government appeared before the court and completed his arguments.

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