RE - Justice Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday sought reply from Attorney General of Pakistan and Advocate General of Punjab on a constitutional petition seeking directions to restrain federal government from appointing new judges in superior judiciary on political consideration and to establish an independent judicial commission for this purpose.
He passed this order on a writ petition moved by Syed Feroz Shah Gillani through AK Dogar advocate. The petitioner had only arrayed federal government as respondent in his petition, however, the court also issued notices to Punjab government through Advocate General observing that the gravity of the matter required comments from provincial government as well.
The court has sought comments from respondents within next 15 days.
The petitioner's counsel argued that the direction might be issued to the Prime Minister to establish a "Judicial Appointments Commission" for the appointments of judges on the pattern of England and Wales.
The petitioner said the matter of judges' appointments is a sacred trust but in Pakistan the appointments in superior judiciary are made without ascertaining the merit and impartiality of the candidates, ignoring the Islamic injunctions and also in violation of the directions of the constitution.
He said the independence and impartiality of judiciary is the foundation of democracy and socio-economic justice. Article 2A of the Constitution states "the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed."
The petitioner stated that the fundamental rights including equality of opportunity and status of other lawyers, who have completed 10 years of the high court practice, are negated and flouted by the government when they are not allowed to apply for appointment in the superior judiciary. "Only people with political affiliations are appointed as judges," petitioner alleged.
Counsel asserted that the present government's decision to appoint judges of superior judiciary on political considerations is in violation of constitution as well as the directions of the supreme court of Pakistan especially the judges case cited as Al-Jihad Trust case wherein it was held that the appointments in superior judiciary should be made transparently and no person with political affiliation can be appointed as High Court judge.
He further prayed that before sending the names for appointment of judges and prior to the consultations with chief justice and other consultees the prime minister be directed to obtain the recommendations of the "Judicial Appointment Commission" as is done in England and Wales.