There is a fundamental principle of Islamic jurisprudence and an internationally accepted norm that an individual should not pass judgment on an issue in which they themselves are a beneficiary. The composition of Supreme Court benches should be based on merit rather than being perceived as favoring judges with a particular point of view. A judge must always maintain an open mind, and it is crucial that the perception of justice being served is upheld.
The proposed bill, adopted by the National Assembly (NA) and Senate, aims to redefine the distribution of powers within the Supreme Court, giving preference to the collective wisdom of the three senior-most judges of the court in deciding which matters should be taken up suo motu and in the constitution of benches, among other aspects. While the appointment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is strictly based on seniority, the elevation from High Courts often neglects due consideration of seniority. Concentrating power in one individual goes against the very essence of democracy. Why shouldn’t a Chief Justice of a High Court qualify for elevation, and why are juniors being elevated instead? Unfortunately, this cherry-picking approach has caused a great deal of anxiety and doubt, which undermines the sanctity of the Supreme Court—an institution that requires protection and preservation.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) is an integral part of the judiciary and has a unique role defined by the constitution to interpret and adjudicate. The basic concept of parliamentary democracy and the 1973 Constitution is built upon the trichotomy of powers, vested in the three pillars of the state—Parliament, Executive, and Judiciary. The existence and legitimacy of these three pillars, as well as the powers entrusted to them, are derived from the constitution, which serves as the foundational instrument. Unfortunately, Pakistan, born out of a constitutional political struggle without resorting to armed conflict since 1954, has been governed by leaders who obtained power through the barrel of a gun rather than through the ballot. It is imperative that the spirit of democracy prevails.
MALIK TARIQ ALI,