SC will submit response of President on ISB H/C Judges Issue

Supreme court gives a day to president  for a second thought

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Thursday aimed at Attorney General Irfan Qadir to talk about the Islamabad High Court judges’ appointment issue with President Asif Ali Zardari and present his response today. A four-judge SC bench headed by Justice Khilji Arif Hussain was hearing the appeal of Akram Sheikh about the confirmation and extension of two IHC judges.The petitioner told the court that the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) on 22 October, 2012 recommended the names of Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui for confirmation and Justice Noor ul Haq Qureshi for six-month extension with 8-2 votes, while one JCP member was absent on that date. The Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment on November 5 unanimously approved the recommendations of the JCP, Sheikh said.The petitioner, quoting Section 13 of Article 175A of the Constitution pleaded that the approval of the parliamentary committee did not leave any room for the discretionary power either of the prime minister or the president in the appointment of the judges.Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa raised four questions:

“Whether the Judicial Commission was validly constituted in accordance with the Constitution? What could be its impact if the commission was not constituted validly but approved the judges’ names with majority?Could the president stop the appointment after all the process is over and matured in nomination? Is there any way outside the Constitution?Akram Sheikh replied that on 22 October the JCP was validly constituted in accordance with the Constitution. Raising the seniority issue, the attorney general contended that instead of Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan, the most senior judge of IHC, Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi attended the JCP meeting as the most senior judge of the IHC that day. He said that the president sent back the summary with the objection of seniority representation by the IHC.Justice Khilji inquired from the petitioner whether Justice Kasi, according to IHC cause list of that day, was the most senior judge. The incumbent and the former presidents of IHCBA told the bench that Justice Kasi was the senior most judge of IHC on that day because Justice Riaz was in Saudi Arabia for performing Haj.The bench directed the officials to confirm from the Islamabad High Court registrar. The IHC registrar despatched a note, confirming that Justice Riaz performed Haj on those days.  Justice Khilji asked the attorney general to bring this fact into president’s notice and get his response tomorrow as the IHC working was badly affected due to delay in the notification.He asked the court to postpone the case until Monday but, dismissing his request, the court asked him to talk about the issue with the president and submit his response on Friday.The attorney general was not present in the court when the hearing started but the court called him after the interval. He told the court: “I did not appear because it was a local holiday. But when I saw on TV that I am summoned in IHC judges case, I at once came to the court.”

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