SCBA slams SC judgement in NAB chief case

LAHORE: President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Asma Jahangir has criticised the Apex Court judgment in the Deedar Hussain Shah case, saying the suggestion made in it for consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) for the appointment of the National Accountability Bureau chairman amounts to legislation by the bench and the striking down of the 19th amendment to the constitution.Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, the SCBA president said the judgment is vague since it has suggested consultation with the CJP by the executive, though it stopped short of making this a law. She appreciated the ruling of the bench suggesting consensus-oriented consultation between the leader of the House and the leader of the Opposition, saying parliament needs to put its act together so as to avoid interference from other institutions.

Asma Jahangir said suggesting consultation with the CJP by the executive for the appointment of the NAB chief is highly objectionable, as it would leave no room for arbitration for the judiciary, which is the ultimate forum for justice. Furthermore she said, the SCBA would resist any such move in which the office of the CJP was asked to play a role meant solely for the executive through parliamentary consultation.She said a member of the bench that had passed the verdict had shed crocodile’s tears while consoling Deedar Hussain Shah, as it had to act against a brother judge. Asma Jahangir said the judiciary of Pakistan has a long history of acting against brother judges and the way it has insinuated and conducted contempt of court proceeding against ‘brother judges’ is unprecedented in the judicial history of the country.She said the SC judgment in the Deedar Hussain Shah case is not one celebrated by the Bar and contains lacunae that need to be addressed.

Talking about the six-member bench verdict for striking down the parliamentary committee recommendations on the extension in service of six superior court judges, Asma Jahangir warned that the turf war between institutions was bound to get dangerous, implying that the judiciary has acted unwisely since it has for all practical purposes struck down the 19th amendment to the constitution. She said the consensus verdict had in fact decided the matter on the 19th amendment pending before a larger bench of the Apex Court and hailed a dissenting note to this effect by Justice Tariq Pervaiz, one of the members of the same bench.Asma Jahangir said the Judicial Commission has not only rendered the recommendations of the parliamentary committee ineffective, but has also made the CJP the sole authority of elevating judges to the superior judiciary. She said the observations made by the Chief Justices of the Sindh and Lahore High Courts had been unnecessarily ignored.

She criticized the role being played by Law Minister Babar Awan, the Attorney General and the nominee of the Pakistan Bar Council in the Judicial Commission, saying their acts of commission and omission are most regrettable since their role was not to act quietly in the deliberations but to uphold the law and justify their presence in the commission.The SCBA president criticized the elevation of Jusice Abdul Karim Kundi as permanent judge of the Peshawar High Court by the Judicial Commission only seven days before his attaining superannutaion just to grant him full pension amounting to Rs 336,000 while ignoring a whole lot of others in other High Courts. She questioned why both the Judicial Commission and the Parliamenray Committee for the appointment of judges have granted such a favour to Kundi. Asma Jahangir said the bar associations in the country would continue to play the role of a watchdog pertaining to the working of the bench and the first line of defence of the constitution of Pakistan. – Dailytimes