PBC demands late judge’s plea should be taken up

The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on Saturday demanded that Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa should schedule at the earliest the petition of the late Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth pending before the Supreme Court, wherein the elevation of judges to the superior judiciary against the principle of seniority had been challenged.

According to a news statement, PBC Vice-Chairman Haroon-ur-Rashid and its Executive Committee Chairman Hassan Raza Pasha said the bar had consistently “stood with the seniority principle” for the elevation of judges to the superior courts.

It further read that the PBC office-bearers had shown their “full respect” to the judiciary and Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP).

They pointed out that in the past, elevations to the superior courts were made on the basis of pick and choose in violation of the judgment of the SC passed in the Al-Jehad Trust case and against the spirit of the Constitution, adding that the bar had always raised its voice against this practice and opposed it.

The PBC office-bearers continued that the practice of elevating judges against the seniority principle was also challenged by the late Peshawar High Court chief justice Waqar Ahmed Seth before the SC and his petition was still pending.

They said the bar had consistently demanded the setting of the criteria for the elevation of judges not only to the SC but also to the high courts and Federal Shariat Court.

The PBC office-bearers added that they expected that the criteria would be finalised soon.

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The legal fraternity have been demanding that judges should be appointed on the basis of the seniority principle and those elevated out-of-turn be removed.

The elevation of Justice Mussarat Hilali to the top court — backed by a unanimous approval — breezed through the process without any deadlock that marred the previous ones over ignoring the seniority principle in picking the names of judges for their elevation to the SC.

Now with a CJP who shares similar views on the matter, the legal fraternity feels that it finally has a chance to have their demand met.

Before taking over as the CJP, Justice Isa also strongly advocated appointments to the Supreme Court on the basis of the seniority principle in the absence of objective criteria.

Last year in a letter to ex-CJP Umar Ata Bandial, he explained the advantages of the appointment of chief justices of high courts as SC judges.

He also gave the reasons as why to why junior high court judges should not be elevated to the SC.

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