The Supreme Court of Pakistan said President and Prime Minister have no discretionary powers and no role for the appointment of judges in the superior courts, as the president is bound to implement the recommendations of the judicial commission in the appointment of judges.
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 five-member bench headed by Justice Khilji Arif Hussain made public its opinion. The court reserved it on December 14.
The ruling says the Judicial Commission can give reasons for not raising the senior judge as the chief justice.
No member but the concerned chief justice can appoint any judge.
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 should be mentioned here that the court completed hearing on December 14 over the presidential reference over the issue of seniority of judges.
During the previous hearing, Barrister Akram Sheikh, counsel for a petitioner Advocate Nadeem Ahmed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges nomination case, completed his arguments.
Sheikh maintained that Justice Kansi was eligible to sit in the Judicial Commission meeting, adding the commission had recommended to appoint Justice Kansi as the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court.
He also pleaded that ministry of law and justice cannot be given the responsibility to ascertain the seniority of the judges as it will negate efforts to separate judiciary from the executive.
In a previous hearing, the counsel Sheikh said that the present system of judges’ appointment is based on the apex court’s short order; hence the court should revive the old system for appointment of superior courts judges.
Barrister Wasim Sajjad, the counsel of the federal government appeared before the court and completed his arguments.