ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP) and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Wednesday passed a joint resolution and demanded of the federal government to immediately frame legislation regulating the procedure of exercise of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and to end the sole discretion of the Chief Justice in relation to the constitution of benches, fixation of cases and initiation of suo motu proceedings.

In this regard, a joint meeting of the representatives of SCBAP, High Court Bar Associations of all the provinces, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the Provincial Bar Councils and Members/Nominees of Bar Councils to the Judicial Commission of Pakistan was held in the premises of Supreme Court of Pakistan building Islamabad.

According to the statement issued by the SCBAP, the meeting was held under the chairmanship of Asan Bhoon, President SCBAP and Pir Muhammad Masood Chishli, Chairman Executive PBC.

The statement said that this representative meeting was called by the President SCBAP and the Chairman Executive PBC to consider the situation arising out of the controversies of the independence of judiciary with regard to functioning of Courts as well as the appointment of judges in the superior courts.

It also said that participants of the meeting passed a resolution saying that whereas the House unanimously resolved that the legal fraternity does not have any personal agenda neither they are against anyone nor in favour of anyone rather want strict adherence to the rule of law and principle of seniority, as such, nominations for the appointment of junior judges to the Supreme Court in violation of the seniority principle was received with displeasure; hence was disapproved by the House.

It added that moreover, the House reiterated its long-standing demand for nearly a decade that the Judicial Commission of Pakistan immediately amend its rules to allow nominations for judicial appointments to be initiated by any member of the Judicial Commission rather than the Chief Justice alone (which is even otherwise violative of Article 175-A of the Constitution) and, moreover, to frame fair, transparent and objective criteria and procedures to gauge the suitability of prospective appointees.

“Whereas the House resolved and demanded that amendments in Article 175-A and Article 209 of the Constitution should be made, in order to unify the forum for appointment and removal of Judges and to make it more inclusive and comprising equal representation of all the stake holders i.e. Judges, Bar, Executive and the Parliament. Moreover, the House demanded that Article 184 (3) of the Constitution be amended in order to provide one right of appeal,” said the resolution.

It further said, “Whereas the House further demanded that the Federal Government immediately frame legislation in terms of Articles 175(2) and 191 of the Constitution regulating the manner of exercise of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and, in particular, to end the sole discretion of the Chief Justice in. relation to the constitution of benches, fixation of cases and initiation of suo motu proceedings and vest the same in a Committee comprising the five senior-most judges of the Court.”

The resolution continued that whereas the House further demanded from the federal government to immediately withdraw the Curative Review filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Senior Puisne Judge, Supreme Court of Pakistan, as admittedly, it was wrongly filed.

It maintained that whereas the house further resolved that the Supreme Court Rules be amended to ensure that the review petitions are heard by a Bench different from the original Bench and allow the engagement of different Counsel for the review petition.