Vice Chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council Khush Dil Khan has urged Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) to observe principles laid down in Al-Jehad Trust case while filling slots of the top court.
Lauding the move for elevation of Chief Justice Balochistan High Court to the Supreme Court, Khush Dil Khan expressed concern over the possible elevation of Sindh High Court’s fifth most senior judge as top court judge by superseding Chief Justice and four other judges of the High Court.
It has been reported that during its forthcoming meeting, the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) shall consider the elevation of Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, the Balochistan High Court’s Chief Justice, and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar of the Sindh High Court to fill the vacant offices of judges in the Supreme Court.
The two offices fell vacant after Justice Faisal Arab reached superannuation on Nov 4 last year and Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik on April 30 this year. With the appointment of two judges, the Supreme Court will reach its stipulated strength of 17 judges.
Sources claimed that Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar is the fifth most senior judge in the SHC and being tipped to be elevated as a Supreme Court judge by superseding Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh, Justice Irfaan Saadat Khan, Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi and Justice Hassan Azhar Mirza.
The elevation to the Supreme Court under Article 175-A of the Constitution is always done after weighing the overall antecedents, reputation and expertise in deciding matters, integrity as well as conduct as judge of the high courts.
Vice Chairman of the top regulatory body of lawyers in the country, Khush Dil Khan issued a statement saying, “I appreciate the move for elevation of Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court to the Supreme Court of Pakistan being the senior most and well deserving to be elevated in all respects. It is for the first time in the Country’s Judicial history that a Baloch Judge from Balochistan is being elevated to the apex Court of Pakistan”.
However, he expressed serious reservations and concerns saying, “That Hon’ble Judge of Sindh High Court at No. 05 in seniority is also being elevated to the Supreme Court of Pakistan against another vacant seat while ignoring the first four senior most Hon’ble Judges of the Sindh High Court. That although seniority is not the only criteria for elevation to the Supreme Court, the aspect of competency, uprightness, integrity, performance and ability are also having to be kept in mind while elevating the Hon’ble Judge of respective High Courts”.
“Now the question arises whether all the four senior Hon’ble Judges of Sindh High Court lack the above said criteria to be elevated to the apex Court of Pakistan. The aforementioned elevation of Hon’ble Judge from serial No. 05 is not only against the spirit of the Judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan passed in the Al-Jehad Trust case but also against the expectancy of the senior most Judge of Sindh High Court and it will demoralize the senior Judges of the High Courts.” Khush Dil Khan concluded.
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