ISLAMABAD  - The Supreme Court on Monday observed that if in any matter the constitution and law are not clear then the convention would prevail.

Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, heading a five-member bench, was hearing the case of Muhammad Aslam vs federation of Pakistan. The chief justice said if in any matter the constitution and law are not clear then the convention would prevail.

However, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa raised a question if there were 10 additional judges and out of them five were made permanent this year and other five next year then what would be the criteria for seniority.

Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali remarked that when the President makes a judge permanent then the date a notification for the purpose is issued would be considered the seniority. The bench said that Sindh High Court had declared that a judge’s seniority starts from the date when he is made permanent.

The petitioner’s counsel Zaka-ur-Rehman argued that in the judges’ pension case the apex court had ruled that there was no difference between the additional and the permanent judges. He pleaded that the present seniority committee composition is against the constitution and also the verdicts of the courts.

He said that the additional judges were appointed according to the Article 193, 197, 18th and 19th Amendments. The additional judge gets benefit under Article 197, however, there was no provision of it under Article 193. An additional judge would be considered permanent on completion of his duration, he argued.

He contended that 34 judges were appointed as additional on 17th February 2010 for one year, of them 18 judges were give one year extension, while 16 judges were dropped after one year. He further said that out of 18 additional judges 15 were made permanent.

The case was adjourned till tomorrow. Attorney General for Pakistan would give arguments.