Appointment of judges

AT a time when Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar is talking about reforming the judiciary and PML (N) President Mian Nawaz Sharif is spearheading a movement for justice, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has mooted a highly plausible proposal regarding the procedure for appointment of judges. Talking to parliamentary reporters on Monday, he referred to the practice being following by the US where entire life of judges is scrutinised before their confirmation, he said judge decide matters about life and death and financial transactions worth billions of rupees and therefore, there was every reason that people should know who the judges are.
A new procedure for appointment of judges to the high courts and the Supreme Court has been adopted following passage of the 18th constitutional amendment, which envisages nomination of judges by a judicial commission headed by the Chief Justice and confirmation of names by a parliamentary panel. However, many lawyers argue that the system is illegal, unconstitutional and against principles of Islam. It is argued that the system did not provide an opportunity to a lawyer who enjoyed professional standing of considerable time to become a judge if he was not well-connected or belonged to a poor family. The scrutiny about which the Prime Minister talked can be and should be done by parliamentary committee that consists of members from both the house of Parliament and represents both the treasury and the opposition. However, the Prime Minister did not elaborate as to what he meant by scrutiny of judges before their appointment. If he is not satisfied with the job of parliamentary committee then who else would do the job and what is the assurance that the task would be carried out in a neutral and transparent manner. In principle, no one would disagree with the Premier as every cautioned should be exercised to ensure that the people inducted as judges are thorough professional, have good reputation, vast legal knowledge, patience, open-mindedness, courage, firmness, understanding, passion, and common sense. No one would dispute the fact that honest and upright politicians, bureaucrats, judges and policemen can help transform the entire country.

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