ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has urged the Parliamentary Committee on the appointment of superior court judges to review the decision of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) for not extending the tenure of seven additional judges of the Lahore High Court (LHC).

PBC Vice-Chairman Ahsan Bhoon on Saturday wrote letters to the Parliamentary Committee regarding the dropping of the names of seven additional judges by the JCP.

The JCP at its October 12 meeting dropped the names of Justice Muhammad Bashir Paracha, Justice Abdul Sattar, Justice Habib Ullah Amir, Justice Mudassir Khalid Abbasi, Justice Ahmad Raza Gilani, Justice Muhammad Ali and Justice Abdul Rahman Aurangzeb, but had recommended for one-year extension to Justice Mujahid Mustaqeem Ahmed, Justice Tariq Iftikhar Ahmad, Justice Asjad Javaid Ghural, Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh, Justice Jawad Hassan, Justice Muzamil Akhtar Shabir and Justice Chaudhry Abdul Aziz.

Bhoon said that “the JCP disregarded merit and competency whereas many of the dropped judges were, of sure, more competent, law-knowing and upright as compared to many others who have been retained by giving them the extension in service tenure”. “It is a matter of disappointment that views and recommendations of representatives of the Bar in the JCP were altogether ignored while dropping names of seven additional judges which not only undermines transparency but also, unfortunately, smacks favouritism and nepotism,” Bhoon said.

“The LHC Chief Justice presented his views and recommendations during proceedings of the meeting, which was entirely different from his written proposals he had earlier communicated to the commission,” he deplored.

He said that the main object of establishing the JCP was to appoint judges to superior courts purely on merit and competency in a transparent manner, so that confidence of the people in judiciary and the system of dispensation of justice, may be reassured,” he said adding: “But to the dismay of the Bar, this object has been badly defeated as the commission has failed to ensure appointment of really honest, competent and upright judges.”

Bhoon said that ever since its establishment, “the JCP has proved to be a consortium of judges having a majority in decision-making and so is acting according to their wishes to accommodate their near and dear ones, thus compromising the transparent and judicious process of appointment of judges”.

He urged the Parliamentary Committee to re-evaluate the decision of the JCP by calling the complete record and profiles of the dropped out judges, initial proposals/recommendations of the LHC Chief Justice to the commission as well as the detail of proceedings of the meeting held on October 12, so as to ascertain the factual position. “In case, the Parliamentary Committee feels dissatisfied and unconvinced by the JCP decision regarding dropping of seven additional judges it may refer back the matter to the JCP for re-consideration to recommend extension of all the 14 additional judges of the LHC as per earlier proposals/recommendations of the LHC Chief Justice in the larger interest of the institution of judiciary.