Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court has urged Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to expressly convene a Judicial Commission meeting to nominate judges to the top court.
In a letter dated September 28, a copy of which is available with The Friday Times — Naya Daur, Isa urged Bandial to “immediately” convene a commission meeting to enable the outstanding five vacancies to be filled. Isa said he had called on Bandial repeatedly to do is constitutional duty and let commission members do theirs.
The Supreme Court justice said over 50,000 cases had accumulated at the top court. There are five vacancies at the Supreme Court. This, he said, translated into 726 lost days. Verdicts on pending cases, Isa said, would remain elusive if the vacancies were not filled.
Supreme Court Justices Qazi Faez Isa and Sardar Tariq Masood had written a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial expressing ‘dismay’ at remarks made by the CJP during the new judicial year ceremony earlier in September.
In a letter addressed to members of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), the Justices said that the address of the CJP on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the New Judicial Year left them ‘taken aback’ and ‘dismayed’.
“The object of the ceremony (as stated by the CJP) was to identify our priorities and set out our vision for the coming year, but the CJP said much more. He sought to justify decisions of the Supreme Court, respond to criticism of its judgments, and unilaterally speak on behalf of the Supreme Court,” the joint letter said.
The letter also said that the CJP commenting on pending cases was ‘disconcerting’, and reminded the judicial commission that the Supreme Court does not consist of the Chief Justice alone. “He also made uncalled for and disparaging remarks about members of the Supreme Court Bar Association […] accusing them of political partisanship because they had requested that the Full Court be constituted to hear the cited case.”
“But what was most inappropriate, and unreasonable, was to mention the working and decisions of the JCP,” they said in the letter, adding that the CJP had said that the candidates proposed by the Chairman of the JCP — who is also CJP Bandial — were not approved, blaming the representatives of the Federal Government for this.
“All members of the JCP, including its chairman, are equal. The only additional responsibility of the CJP is for him to act as its chairman,” the letter said, concluding that the Justices had remained quiet to maintain decorum, but wanted to issue this letter to clarify, in case their silence be misconstrued as consent.