LAHORE - Senior lawyers have termed the existing procedure to appoint NAB Chairman “correct”, saying any constitutional amendment to delegate powers to the Supreme Court will affect the independence of judiciary.

They say the Constitution has already defined three basic pillars of the state as well as powers of each pillar; thus, the judiciary can’t interfere into the affairs of the executive and vice versa.

Some of the lawyers say through constitutional amendment, a commission may be established for appointment of public authorities like NAB Chairman, DGs FIA and IGs of four provinces. They argue it is worldwide phenomena that public authorities are appointed directly by commission and their public hearing is held. AK Dogar, a senior lawyer told The Nation yesterday that “the appointment of NAB Chairman or any other executive officer is not the subject of the courts. The courts are meant to decide public disputes or matters between public and state.”

“It is universal principle that a state consists of three pillars which cannot interfere into each others’ affairs,” he added. According to him, the appointment of National Accountability Bureau’s chairman is a subject of executive and any constitutional amendment to delegate powers to the Supreme Court is technically wrong as it is against the spirit of law.

To a question that why Judicial Commission cannot hold up the matters of the public authorities like NAB when it makes appointments in the higher judiciary, Dogar stated: “A commission, worldwide, is supposed to report and not to decide the matters, but a judicial commission is the appointing commission which renders decisions regarding appointments of judges.”“Chief Election Commissioner is also appointed by the PM with the consultation of Opposition leader so the existing way of appointing NAB Chairman is absolutely right and such amendment will affect the independence of judiciary,” he added.

Former president of Supreme Court Bar Association, Syed Ali Zafar held the Supreme Court should not make such appointments because it would be a judicial appointment which would subsequently leave no rationality for the high court or any trial court to take up the matters decided by NAB Chairman. “How the courts could decide the matters of NAB Chairman, the appointee of the SC itself,” he questioned.

“NAB, being an investigating agency, is better to be decided by the Prime Minister with the consultation of the Opposition leader.

“A parliamentary committee may decide the appointment of NAB Chairman in case if it is so necessary,” Ali Zafar said, validating the existing procedure of NAB Chairman’s appointment.

Talking to The Nation, Barrister Zafarullah Khan said the post of NAB Chairman is executive and any law to delegate powers to the SC for its appointment seems irrational as it is not the duty of the courts; it is responsibility of the executive, clearly defined by the Constitution.

“The office of NAB chairman is basically public office and it must be carried out by the elected representatives of the public and not by the court,” argued Barrister Khan. He said there were 3 million cases lying pending in the courts and if the apex court is made bound to make such appointments then it would affect its working.

Azhar Siddique advocate said there should be an appointing commission for public authorities. He quoted the Rauf Commission, made by the SC, wherein the SC had emphasised on appointments on the merit. “I believe that all public authorities like NAB Chairman, Director Generals of FIA, IGPs of all four provinces should be appointed by a commission,” Azhar said while stressing it would curb the political interference in such appointments.