In a detailed letter, senior puisne judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa has called on Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to reconstitute the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) rules committee to amend the criteria of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and appoint high court justices to fill the three vacant apex court seats.
The letter included suggestions to amend the criteria for selection of Supreme Court judges, with an emphasis on the prioritization of seniority over merit.
The previous six appointments to the Supreme Court had been made without keeping seniority in mind, and now that there were three vacant SC seats, Justice Faez urged the JCP to not rely solely on merit.
He claimed that appointing junior high court judges to the Supreme Court, regardless of their competency is not a wise course of action, as they are not ready for the responsibility.
In addition, he claimed that the bypassing of senior high court judges to appoint junior ones instead is actually detrimental to the morale and work ethic of the bypassed judges.
“Superior court judges are required to take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. An important component of this oath is to ensure that the people’s fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution are not trampled upon. Therefore, an important factor to consider in the selection of superior court judges is also whether they have the requisite ability and determination to resist and repel unconstitutional acts, and the courage to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” read the letter penned by Justice Isa.
The letter also stated that a majority of the members of the Pakistan Bar Committee (PBC) had also stressed the importance of a review of the JCP’s rulebook.