SHC hears Bar petition against amendments to SJSR -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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SHC hears Bar petition against amendments to SJSR

KARACHI: The counsel for Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) and Sindh Bar Council (SBC) has contended that the amendments made by Sindh government in the Sindh Judicial Service Rules regarding the appointment of judicial officers in subordinate courts are ultra vires to the Constitution and against the independence of the judiciary.

SHCBA and SBC assailed the Sindh government’s December 4 (2008) notification that gave power to Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC) for selecting judges for subordinate courts by taking away the powers of “Provincial Selection Board” as well as the authority of the Sindh High Court. SHC’s five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali was hearing the identical petitions of the SHCBA and SBC against the impugned notification.

Challenging the notification, SHCBA and SBC submitted that it was also discriminatory.

Petitioner Rasheed A Razvi, who is also the President of SHCBA, argued that divesting the Provincial Selection Board, which comprises senior judges of the High Court, of the power to make recommendations for the appointments in subordinate judiciary and to vest the same in SPSC, whose members enjoy no constitutional tenure, is fraught with grave dangers to the independence of the judiciary.

He argued that the government has no power to make amendments in SJSR that was introduced by the full bench of High Court and the same could not be done without the approval of full bench of the High Court. He said that the impugned notification is contrary to Articles 175 and 203 of the Constitution which guarantees that judiciary shall be separated from the executive and empowers the High Court to supervise and control all its subordinate courts.

On the provincial government’s comments that such exercise was being done in the other three provinces of the country, he submitted that “three wrongs could not make one right”.

The counsel said that the amended Rules 2 & 5 of the Sindh Judicial Service Rules-1994 are in violation of the rule laid down by the Supreme Court in the cases of Sharaf Faridi and Al Jehad Trust and thus are liable to be set aside. The court was prayed to to declare that the amendments made in Rules 2 and 5 of the SJSR and the impugned notification are without lawful authority, mala fide, of no legal effect and liable to be struck down as ultra vires to the Constitution.

He submitted that the provincial government of Sindh intends to appoint such persons to the post of judicial officers who happen to be faithful and loyal to their political party.

SHCBA also sought declaration that the amendments made in Rules 2 and 5 of Sindh Judicial Service Rules-1994 are illegal, violative of the concept of independent judiciary and in violation of articles 4, 9, 14, 175 and 203 of the Constitution. SBC counsel Abdul Haleem Siddiqui will also submit his synopsis before the full bench.

The court will hear arguments of attorney general and advocate general Sindh on June 15.

Earlier, in its comments, the Sindh government opposed the petition and submitted that it was not maintainable. Provincial law officer submitted that the exercise for the appointment of judicial officers was being made in all three provinces through public service commission and no violation of law has been made by the government.

Source: The News