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Meeting on May 7 to consider new appointments
 
 
 

ISLAMABAD - The meeting of Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) has been scheduled for May to consider appointment of one acting and two ad hoc judges in the Supreme Court. In the wake of expected appeal to be filed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani against his conviction in the contempt of court case and shortage of judges in the Supreme Court to hear the plea, the JCP will consider three names for the judges’ appointment.It is to be noted that the sanctioned strength of Supreme Court judges is 17 (including the chief justice), but currently 16 judges are performing their functions.If the prime minister files an appeal against his conviction, which he will reportedly file, a separate larger bench would have to be constituted for which required number of judges is not available. Therefore, the JCP chairman (Chief Justice of Pakistan) has summoned the meeting to consider appointing at least three judges.Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in a meeting in Sibi on Tuesday has also said that 9- member bench to hear the appeal of the PM contempt cases. Out of the 16 available judges, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, is also functioning as acting chief election commissioner and remains busy in the affairs of the Election Commission of Pakistan.The sources said there are two other judges, who will not be available for hearing of the expected appeal of the prime minister due to different reasons.During the meeting, the commission will discuss the appointment of three judges - one additional and two ad-hoc. The sources confided to The Nation the judges whose names could be considered in the JCP meeting for appointment include Justice (r) Ghulam Rabbani, Justice (r) Shahid Akhtar Siddiqui, who have retired last year, and Justice Umer Atta Bandial, a judge of the high court. The Articles 181 and 182 of the Constitution talk about the appointment of acting and ad-hoc judges respectively.Khawaja Haris, a constitutional expert and former advocate general of Punjab, says after the 18th Amendment the procedure for the appointment of the ad-hoc and acting judges is also given in the Article 175A.The Article 175A (8) says; “The Judicial Commission by majority of its total membership shall nominate to the Parliamentary Committee one person, for each vacancy of a Judge in the Supreme Court.”The clause (12) of the same article says: “Parliamentary Committee on receipt of a nomination from the Commission may confirm the nominee by majority of its total membership within fourteen days, failing which the nomination shall be deemed to have been confirmed.”The committee after approving the name or names shall send them to the prime minister, who shall forward the same to the president for appointment. The role of the president is to sign the notification but the timeframe is not given.On the other hand, Vice-chairman Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Akhtar Hussain has said the council would oppose the appointment of acting and ad-hoc judges in the Supreme Court. He said the PBC has a consistent stand that no ad-hoc and acting judge should be appointed in the Supreme Court. He said initiating the names for appointment as acting and ad-hoc judges in the Supreme Court will create a serious controversy in the country and the bar will strongly resist such appointments.

 
 
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