ISLAMABAD: The Sindh Bar Council (SBC) has written a letter to the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), questioning the elevation of judges to the Supreme Court in complete disregard of the seniority list.
In its three-page letter, the SBC wrote that of the last five judges elevated to SC, four were not on top of the seniority list even in their own high courts.
The judges who were promoted out-of-turn included Justice Munib Akhtar of the Sindh High Court, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed of the Lahore High Court, who was 26th on the LHC seniority list; Justice Aminuddin Khan of the LHC and Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi.
The letter also referred to the judgment of the Malik Asad Ali case wherein it was held that senior-most judge of the court had legitimate expectancy to become chief justice even though the Constitution was silent.
It is also a consensus in the bar that the principle of seniority should be followed when elevating judges to the SC, and reminding the body of the top court verdict wherein it had nullified the out-of-turn promotion of thousands of civil servants while exercising suo motu jurisdiction.
The bar council wondered if the chief justice of a high court was not suitable to be elevated to the SC, then how could lawyers and litigants retain faith in them.
“Such practice [out-of-turn elevation] will open the prospect of judges lobbying for appointment to the Supreme Court,” the letter read.
The lawyers’ body further said out-of-turn elevation created arbitrariness in the appointments.
“If the JCP wants to appoint judges on the basis of competence then why names of lawyers are not being considered for the post of judges?” it added.