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HomePakistanPBC’s JCP member against interviewing candidates | The Express Tribune

PBC’s JCP member against interviewing candidates | The Express Tribune


Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) representative in the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) Akhtar Hussain has expressed reservations over interviewing potential candidates for the appointment of superior court judges.

“As far as calling the potential candidates for interview[s] is concerned, I have some reservations, [–] one that the procedure adopted by the parliamentary committee has not proved [to be] much beneficial [and] secondly there may be a negative aspect of dropping some good candidates for one reason [or the other],” read a letter written by the PBC representative following an earlier one penned by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa wherein he had asked all members of the commission to suggest whether the candidates for the slots of superior court judges should be interviewed or not.

However, Sindh Bar Council (SBC) representative in the JCP Haider Imam Rizvi supported the idea of interviewing potential candidates.

“I am of the view that potential candidates should be interviewed. The paper record alone is not always a reliable indicator of a person’s general command over law and his/her analytical approach and, in particular, says nothing about his [or her] temperament and composure (which are also essential criteria for judges),” he wrote in his letter to the CJP.

“A live interview, in addition to the present system of scrutiny of judgments and/or secondhand feedback about [the] reputation (which may be inaccurate for various reasons) shall help all members of the JCP (especially those who are not personally familiar with the candidate) in reaching a more informed decision,” he added.

“Perhaps the JCP members may also like to agree some sort of modality of how interviews shall be conducted so that all [of them] get a fair and balanced chance of questioning and candidates also have some idea of the methodology and what ground is expected to be covered,”  the SBC representative’s letter continued.

About the suggestions pertaining to the appointment of judges in superior courts, PBC representative Akhtar told the CJP that lawyers had continuously been asking for amending the JCP rules.

“There should be a clear [criterion] laid down in the rules for bypassing the seniority for [district and sessions judges’] appointments to high courts … apart from their integrity, competence and capacity. [The] same is to be [applied for the] appointments [of high court judges] to [the] Supreme Court,” he wrote.

“For [lawyers’] appointments, [the] basic principle is the same as to their integrity, competence and capacity but here I will say that the appointment of [an] additional judge against a confirmed vacancy should be stopped and a permanent appointment should be made … for that a thorough exercise should be made for assessment as to their integrity, competence and capacity to work including the analysis of their pleadings in the field of their practice,” Akhtar added.

The PBC representative stated that as far as the confirmation of additional judges was concerned, it could only be carried out on the basis of their disposal and a thorough analysis of their decided cases apart from their integrity.

Akhtar pointed out that CJP Isa himself was well aware about the previous discussions in meetings that rules were also required to be amended about the discretionary and absolute powers of the top judge with initiating nominations as it was being carried out in the past even without consulting other members of the JCP, particularly the nominees of the bar councils in the commission.

“As a matter of fact every member of the commission has a right to nominate, therefore, Sir I will suggest that [a] rules committee may please be formed to be headed by [the] senior puisne judge and rules be amended before calling the next meeting of [the] Judicial Commission of Pakistan for fresh appointments particularly with regard [those[ of the high court judges,” he concluded.

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