SC extends tenure of 32 high courts’ judges

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Monday extended the service tenures of all 32 additional judges working in provincial high courts till further orders.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has said the interim order of the court will not affect Article 175-A of the Constitution.

The court observed the newly formulated article 185-A through constitutional amendment on appointment of judges would not be affected due to this interim order.

Attorney General informed the apex court during the hearing of the judges’ appointment case that the government will form a parliamentary committee in a day or two, after which the judges will be appointed.

The Chief Justice said the process will delay appointment of the judges.

The Attorney General in his opinion said the court can extend the service tenures of the judges without suspending the 18th Amendment.

The matter related to initiation of no action by the government for appointment of judges in Balochistan High Court (BHC) came under discussion during the hearing.

“The court has long before identified this issue then as to why the crisis is created despite knowing all this matter?” Justice Javad S Khawaja remarked.

“Government has been seeking much time to comply with the court’s order”, Justice Asif Khosa remarked.

Earlier Rashid A Rizvi, counsel for SC Bar read out a letter from BHC chief justice wherein it was stated that cases of heinous crimes including target killings were pending in BHC due to non-appointment of judges which might lead to dysfunctional of the court and would scrap basic rights of the people of Balochistan.

“Judges’ issue in Balochistan is issue of governance. Government should have looked into such matter far earlier”, Justice Sair Ali observed.

Under the directives of the SC, the AG after obtaining the reply from government said tenure of the judges would be extended without suspending the constitutional amendments.

Later the court ordered that the additional judges would retain their offices till the 18th amendment case is decided to avert the constitutional crisis.

Earlier Advocate General for Sindh Yousaf Leghari defended the constitutional and legal requirements leading to unanimous passage of the 18th Amendment.

He said that the court had no jurisdiction to hold judicial review of such amendments.

He said under constitutional provisions, the parliament had supremacy to bring about constitutional amendments. Only in certain administrative issues, it could hold judicial review, he added.

He also objected to Article 2A (Objectives Resolution) and contended that it was not a part of the Constitution and should not be regarded as touchstone to strike down a constitutional amendment.

He said it was incorporated in the constitution by the assembly with the sole purpose to bring about unity among all segments of the country.

At this Justice Jawad S. Khawaja said that he was objecting to the Objectives Resolution and questioned as to why they were defending other provisions regarding parliament’s powers to amend and had been inserted by the former despotic rulers.

The AG Sindh also adopted the stance taken by Wasim Sajjad, the lead counsel for the Federation.