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JCP approves Justice Ayesha Malik's elevation to Supreme Court

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JCP approves Justice Ayesha Malik's elevation to Supreme Court

Nasir Iqbal
January 6, 2022



This file photo shows Justice Ayesha Malik. — DawnNewsTV


This file photo shows Justice Ayesha Malik. — DawnNewsTV

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) on Thursday approved the elevation of Lahore High Court Justice Ayesha A. Malik to the Supreme Court, which will make her the country's first-ever woman judge to sit on the apex court.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed chaired the JCP meeting during which Justice Malik's elevation was approved by a majority of five votes against four, an informed source told Dawn.

This is the second time that the JCP held a meeting to decide on Justice Malik's elevation. A lack of consensus during an extended meeting of the JCP on Sept 9 last year had forced the commission to reject her elevation.

During that meeting, four members of the eight-member JCP had opposed the proposal to elevate Justice Malik – the fourth most senior judge of the LHC – while an equal number had supported it.

At the time, the Supreme Court Bar Association President Abdul Latif Afridi had called a countrywide protest to express anger over, what the legal fraternity perceived, disregard to the seniority principle in the appointment of judges to the apex court.

The same criticism was levelled this time as well, with the legal fraternity calling on the chief justice to postpone Thursday’s JCP meeting. In case the meeting was not called off, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and all bar associations said they would boycott all court proceedings, from the superior judiciary to the lower courts.

Meanwhile, reactions poured in from all quarters as netizens, politicians and lawyers congratulated Justice Malik on her nomination.

Legal adviser for the International Commission of Jurists, Reema Omer, said that Justice Malik's presence would enrich the apex court in "many ways" in addition to "finally bringing a woman’s perspective to the highest court of Pakistan that has shockingly been missing for 74 years."

She added that much work needed to be done to ensure that such nominations were not at the "whim of the current chief justice of the day".
"Impediments such as opacity and lack of criteria in appointments process, an all-men judicial commission, and sexism in the legal community continue to exclude women from the judiciary," she said.

Director of Bolo Bhi, an advocacy forum for digital rights, Usama Khilji, expressed the hope that many more women would make it to the "top corridors of decision-making" in Pakistan.

Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari called it an important and defining moment in the country's history.


Journalist Maria Memon simply said: "History has been made."


Lawyer Usama Khawar said that he wanted at least half of the judges at the apex court to be women.


Seniority not legal requirement, nor convention, says Women in Law Pakistan

Earlier this week, the Women in Law Pakistan initiative issued a statement with respect to the seniority debate on Justice Malik's appointment, saying the idea that seniority is a legal requirement is a myth and “there is no requirement in law and Constitution to appoint the senior most judge to the Supreme Court”.

The initiative stated that “at least 41 times judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court without them being most senior. There is, therefore, no such custom either. ‘Seniority’, is at best a mere demand of some members of the Bars at the moment and has no legal basis.”

The initiative made a reference to Article 175-A(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan which “speaks of seniority only in relation to the appointment of the Chief Justice of Pakistan”, adding that as per Article 177 (2) of the Constitution, to be eligible for appointment as a judge of Supreme Court, a person must: be a citizen of Pakistan; been a judge of the HC for five years, or been an advocate of the HC for 15 years.

“Absence of the words, ‘the most senior’ in Article 177 for appointment of Judges of the SC shows that seniority of a Judge in the High Court is not an essential condition for their appointment as a Judge of the SC.”

The initiative added that “seniority as an interim measure will halt conversation for holistic reforms actually needed for greater transparency and representation”.
 

Pandora

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This will set a date precedent of not giving a place based on seniority which was a curse. Pakistan Bar Council was barking against it yesterday.
 

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JCP approves Justice Ayesha Malik's elevation to Supreme Court

Nasir Iqbal
January 6, 2022



This file photo shows Justice Ayesha Malik. — DawnNewsTV


This file photo shows Justice Ayesha Malik. — DawnNewsTV

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) on Thursday approved the elevation of Lahore High Court Justice Ayesha A. Malik to the Supreme Court, which will make her the country's first-ever woman judge to sit on the apex court.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed chaired the JCP meeting during which Justice Malik's elevation was approved by a majority of five votes against four, an informed source told Dawn.

This is the second time that the JCP held a meeting to decide on Justice Malik's elevation. A lack of consensus during an extended meeting of the JCP on Sept 9 last year had forced the commission to reject her elevation.

During that meeting, four members of the eight-member JCP had opposed the proposal to elevate Justice Malik – the fourth most senior judge of the LHC – while an equal number had supported it.

At the time, the Supreme Court Bar Association President Abdul Latif Afridi had called a countrywide protest to express anger over, what the legal fraternity perceived, disregard to the seniority principle in the appointment of judges to the apex court.

The same criticism was levelled this time as well, with the legal fraternity calling on the chief justice to postpone Thursday’s JCP meeting. In case the meeting was not called off, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and all bar associations said they would boycott all court proceedings, from the superior judiciary to the lower courts.

Meanwhile, reactions poured in from all quarters as netizens, politicians and lawyers congratulated Justice Malik on her nomination.

Legal adviser for the International Commission of Jurists, Reema Omer, said that Justice Malik's presence would enrich the apex court in "many ways" in addition to "finally bringing a woman’s perspective to the highest court of Pakistan that has shockingly been missing for 74 years."

She added that much work needed to be done to ensure that such nominations were not at the "whim of the current chief justice of the day".
"Impediments such as opacity and lack of criteria in appointments process, an all-men judicial commission, and sexism in the legal community continue to exclude women from the judiciary," she said.

Director of Bolo Bhi, an advocacy forum for digital rights, Usama Khilji, expressed the hope that many more women would make it to the "top corridors of decision-making" in Pakistan.

Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari called it an important and defining moment in the country's history.


Journalist Maria Memon simply said: "History has been made."


Lawyer Usama Khawar said that he wanted at least half of the judges at the apex court to be women.


Seniority not legal requirement, nor convention, says Women in Law Pakistan

Earlier this week, the Women in Law Pakistan initiative issued a statement with respect to the seniority debate on Justice Malik's appointment, saying the idea that seniority is a legal requirement is a myth and “there is no requirement in law and Constitution to appoint the senior most judge to the Supreme Court”.

The initiative stated that “at least 41 times judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court without them being most senior. There is, therefore, no such custom either. ‘Seniority’, is at best a mere demand of some members of the Bars at the moment and has no legal basis.”

The initiative made a reference to Article 175-A(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan which “speaks of seniority only in relation to the appointment of the Chief Justice of Pakistan”, adding that as per Article 177 (2) of the Constitution, to be eligible for appointment as a judge of Supreme Court, a person must: be a citizen of Pakistan; been a judge of the HC for five years, or been an advocate of the HC for 15 years.

“Absence of the words, ‘the most senior’ in Article 177 for appointment of Judges of the SC shows that seniority of a Judge in the High Court is not an essential condition for their appointment as a Judge of the SC.”

The initiative added that “seniority as an interim measure will halt conversation for holistic reforms actually needed for greater transparency and representation”.

Let's have some more women appointments, one is not enough. :pakistan:
 

SD 10

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JCP approves Justice Ayesha Malik's elevation to Supreme Court

Nasir Iqbal
January 6, 2022



This file photo shows Justice Ayesha Malik. — DawnNewsTV


This file photo shows Justice Ayesha Malik. — DawnNewsTV

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) on Thursday approved the elevation of Lahore High Court Justice Ayesha A. Malik to the Supreme Court, which will make her the country's first-ever woman judge to sit on the apex court.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed chaired the JCP meeting during which Justice Malik's elevation was approved by a majority of five votes against four, an informed source told Dawn.

This is the second time that the JCP held a meeting to decide on Justice Malik's elevation. A lack of consensus during an extended meeting of the JCP on Sept 9 last year had forced the commission to reject her elevation.

During that meeting, four members of the eight-member JCP had opposed the proposal to elevate Justice Malik – the fourth most senior judge of the LHC – while an equal number had supported it.

At the time, the Supreme Court Bar Association President Abdul Latif Afridi had called a countrywide protest to express anger over, what the legal fraternity perceived, disregard to the seniority principle in the appointment of judges to the apex court.

The same criticism was levelled this time as well, with the legal fraternity calling on the chief justice to postpone Thursday’s JCP meeting. In case the meeting was not called off, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and all bar associations said they would boycott all court proceedings, from the superior judiciary to the lower courts.

Meanwhile, reactions poured in from all quarters as netizens, politicians and lawyers congratulated Justice Malik on her nomination.

Legal adviser for the International Commission of Jurists, Reema Omer, said that Justice Malik's presence would enrich the apex court in "many ways" in addition to "finally bringing a woman’s perspective to the highest court of Pakistan that has shockingly been missing for 74 years."

She added that much work needed to be done to ensure that such nominations were not at the "whim of the current chief justice of the day".
"Impediments such as opacity and lack of criteria in appointments process, an all-men judicial commission, and sexism in the legal community continue to exclude women from the judiciary," she said.

Director of Bolo Bhi, an advocacy forum for digital rights, Usama Khilji, expressed the hope that many more women would make it to the "top corridors of decision-making" in Pakistan.

Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari called it an important and defining moment in the country's history.


Journalist Maria Memon simply said: "History has been made."


Lawyer Usama Khawar said that he wanted at least half of the judges at the apex court to be women.


Seniority not legal requirement, nor convention, says Women in Law Pakistan

Earlier this week, the Women in Law Pakistan initiative issued a statement with respect to the seniority debate on Justice Malik's appointment, saying the idea that seniority is a legal requirement is a myth and “there is no requirement in law and Constitution to appoint the senior most judge to the Supreme Court”.

The initiative stated that “at least 41 times judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court without them being most senior. There is, therefore, no such custom either. ‘Seniority’, is at best a mere demand of some members of the Bars at the moment and has no legal basis.”

The initiative made a reference to Article 175-A(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan which “speaks of seniority only in relation to the appointment of the Chief Justice of Pakistan”, adding that as per Article 177 (2) of the Constitution, to be eligible for appointment as a judge of Supreme Court, a person must: be a citizen of Pakistan; been a judge of the HC for five years, or been an advocate of the HC for 15 years.

“Absence of the words, ‘the most senior’ in Article 177 for appointment of Judges of the SC shows that seniority of a Judge in the High Court is not an essential condition for their appointment as a Judge of the SC.”

The initiative added that “seniority as an interim measure will halt conversation for holistic reforms actually needed for greater transparency and representation”.
If the bar doesn`t like it... than i am all for it :partay:
 

ghazi52

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Netizens rejoice as Justice Ayesha Malik gets the nod for Supreme Court elevation

IMAGES STAFF

The appointment will make her the country's first-ever woman judge to sit on the apex court.


61d7df934aba1.png



History is in the making as Lahore High Court Justice Ayesha A. Malik got the nod for elevation to the Supreme Court on Thursday, making her one step closer to becoming the country's first-ever woman judge to sit on the apex court. Ecstatic public figures and netizens took to social media to celebrate how the elevation will be a "great day for women" in Pakistan and "hopefully the first of many" that will see women judges as a prominent part of the Supreme Court roster.

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) approved Justice Malik's elevation by a majority of five votes against four, an informed source told Dawn. This is the second JCP meeting to decide on Justice Malik's elevation. A lack of consensus during an extended meeting on September 9 forced the commission to reject her elevation.

The JCP meeting that decided on Justice Malik's elevation was chaired by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who nominated Justice Malik for elevation in August. Netizens had rejoiced at her nomination at the time, emphasising that it was "about time" a women judge made it to the Supreme Court.

If Justice Malik is elevated following approval from an eight-member bipartisan parliamentary committee, she will remain a judge of the Supreme Court until March 2031 and may even have a chance to become the first woman Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Public figures and netizens took to Twitter to share the news with jubilation.

"Here’s your first female judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan — Justice Ayesha A. Malik," tweeted one user.

1641587867043.png


Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai's father Ziauddin Yousafzai shared his elation at the news. "Many congratulations to Justice Ayesha Malik," he wrote. "You have made history. Congratulations to the Supreme Court for nominating the country's first-ever woman judge to sit on the apex court."


"Great news!" posted singer Meesha Shafi. " Justice Ayesha Malik of the LHC becomes the first woman to become Supreme Court Justice in Pakistan."


"Congratulations to not just Justice Ayesha Malik but to Pakistan for having its first female Supreme Court judge. One woman judge in the Supreme Court is still too few but a good start for more to come!" tweeted activist and lawyer Nighat Dad.


"Such a special day today. We finally have our first woman Supreme Court Judge — Justice Ayesha Malik. I hope she will be the first of many. We need women in leadership positions in all spheres of life based on their capabilities and competence. Let’s make it happen Pakistan," shared former P@SHA president Jehan Ara.


"Justice Ayesha Malik has been appointed to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. She is not only the first female judge but a veritable force to be reckoned with. It is not only a great day for women. It is a great day for any who believe in a justice system based on merit and the rule of law," tweeted one user.


Another user shared how the nomination "is undoubtedly a historic moment and way forward for female jurists of Pakistan".


"What a proud, much awaited moment as we welcome Ayesha Malik as the first female Judge to the Supreme Court of Pakistan," tweeted one user. "Hopefully the repercussions will be beyond judiciary. A real hope that glass ceilings will broken with a higher frequency."


Another user expressed strong hope for the day Pakistan will finally have its first-ever women chief justice. "First woman Judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan Ayesha Malik will be our Chief Justice of Pakistan in 2030," the tweet read.
 

ghazi52

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BREAKING THROUGH THE JUDICIAL GLASS CEILING

Justice Ayesha’s appointment as first woman Supreme Court judge comes as a landmark for Pakistan’s superior judiciary

BY HASNAAT MALIK
PUBLISHED JANUARY 09, 2022


ISLAMABAD: After a nearly 75-year wait, the women of the country have broken another glass ceiling as the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) approved the nomination of a woman as a Supreme Court Justice.

Justice Ayesha Malik’s nomination, who has been serving the Lahore High Court (LHC) since 2012, came after a 5 to 4 vote count in her favor and subject to proceedings in front of a parliamentary committee will be elevated to the highest court of land.

Before she was Justice Ayesha, however, she taught law as a lecturer of Banking Law at the University of Punjab and a lecturer of Mercantile Law at the College of Accounting & Management Sciences in Karachi. Her legal portfolio includes appearances before the High Courts, District Courts, Banking Courts, Special Tribunals, and Arbitration Tribunals. At one point, she was called upon as expert witness in family law cases conducted in England and Australia involving issues of child custody, divorce, women rights, and constitutional protection for women in Pakistan.

However, the journey for Justice Ayesha, who holds a Master in Laws (LLM) from the Harvard Law School, to a Supreme Court (SC) slot, has been marred with protests from the legal fraternity. In September of last year, when the JCP considered her for elevation for the first time, the legal fraternity observed a strike and boycotted all court proceedings. During the JCP meeting held on September 9, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, said that LHC’s Justice Ayesha Malik was known to be a fiercely independent judge and that was why the bar was opposing her appointment as SC judge.

However, back then a consensus could not be reached and the vote was split 4 to 4 - with one member, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, not being able to attend the meeting on account of being abroad.

Fast forward to January, earlier during the month the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) had requested lawyers to boycott court proceedings in protest, once again. The purpose of the protests, like last time, was Justice Ayesha not being high enough on the seniority list, fourth amongst the LHC judges, and thus ineligible for elevation as per the seniority principle.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, retired judge Sarmad Jalal Osmani, Attorney General of Pakistan (AG) Khalid Jawed Khan, and Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem endorsed Justice Ayesha’s name for appointment as a Supreme Court judge in the JCP meeting convened on 6 January. Whereas, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, and PBC representative Akhtar Hussain opposed her nomination - for some in the legal fraternity a historic 5 to 4 split. Despite the split, an insider revealed to The Express Tribune that none of the members raised any questions on the competence of Justice Ayesha.

AG Khalid Jawed Khan, who was amongst the 5 in favor of Justice Ayesha’s appointment, in an exclusive interview with the Express Tribune, revealed that he supported her appointment on the basis of merit and competence. The AG said that historically as well as in terms of binding precedent, seniority alone is not the criteria. “Justice Ayesha has dealt with complex constitutional, commercial, and corporate issues and delivered judgments which are of very high quality and meet the standard expected of a judge of the highest court,” he elaborated.

However, the AG acknowledged the arguments raised by the opposing members of the JCP and said that they were plausible and valid. The opposing 4 had insisted that criteria should be evolved for the appointment of superior court judges first, adding that the seniority principle should be followed for the appointment of all SC judges.

“Even a perception about pick and choose is highly damaging for the court and that needs to be addressed. The best way to avoid that perception is the adoption of an objective criteria in which merit and many other factors are considered,” the AG suggested.

AG Khalid, who wrote a letter to the different Bars of the country back in August requesting input for adoption of a criteria, informed: “I had mentioned a number of criteria in my letter and suggested that these could be added. After that I proposed to the Chairman JCP that a Committee be formed to adopt formal criteria which should then be made part of the Rules, 2010. However, I added that such criteria should be followed in future and we should not withhold the present appointment of Justice Ayesha as she meets the basic criteria that I otherwise proposed.”

Others in the legal fraternity who lauded the JCP’s decision as a landmark one in the country’s history, like the AG, were in unison about Justice Ayesha’s abilities. Barrister Ambreen Qureshi, while talking to the Express Tribune, said, "I am delighted that Justice Ayesha will be joining Pakistan's top bench as a Judge. Justice Malik's outstanding legal ability will not only add diversity of experience but will ensure maintainability of high quality judgements of the country’s highest court.”

However, the nomination of Justice Ayesha, who could potentially become the CJP after the retirement of Justice Yahya Afridi in January of 2030, is quite late compared to nominations of female SC judges of other countries in the region. For instance, India appointed their first woman, a Muslim for that matter, to the Supreme Court back in 1989 - Justice Fathima Beevi. Whereas, in Bangladesh, Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, has served on the Supreme Court's Appellate bench since 2011. Dr Adil Najam, who is the inaugural dean of the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, in an opinion article, written six years ago, titled "Why is there no woman on our Supreme Court?,” states: “In 1994, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto nominated five female justices for high courts. She nominated Fakhar-un-Nisa Khokhar and Nasira Iqbal in Lahore, Justices Talat Yaqub and Khalida Rashid Khan for Peshawar, and Justice Majida Rizvi in Sindh. Majida Rizvi's name was sent in 1989 during the first tenure of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) regime. At least three of them could have made chief justices of their high courts – the clearest path to the Supreme Court. None did.

The first is about more than unfortunate timing. Justice Majida Rizvi was appointed to the Sindh High Court on the same date (June 6, 1994) as Justice Rana Bhagwandas. However, a dispute arose on the question of seniority between them and Justice Nazim Siddiqui that eventually required a Supreme Court judgment. It did not end in her favor. The irony was that had Pakistani society and politics been ready to appoint a woman when she was first recommended in 1989 she would have certainly become chief justice of the Sindh High Court but probably the first woman to serve on the Pakistan Supreme Court. A brilliant mind, Justice Majida Rizvi went on to become the chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women and became a strong voice against the Hudood Ordinances.

The second case was more devious. By all accounts Justice Khalida Rasheed Khan is equally brilliant. Appointed while still young, she was on her way to become chief justice of the Peshawar High Court. According to Justice Nasira Iqbal, she was then told to leave the court on a foreign assignment but “realizing that she was being sidelined from [becoming chief justice she] protested.” To no avail. That she has eventually risen to high position in the international judiciary – now president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda – is a matter of pride for Pakistan. But that pride could have been home-grown had she become high court chief justice and/or justice of the Supreme Court.

The third instance is outright discriminatory. No one disputes that Justice Fakhar-un-Nisa Khokhar was the senior judge on the Lahore High Court when CJ Falak Sher retired in 2001. The same tactic was applied: she was nominated without her consent to the Environmental Tribunal. She refused to leave and the matter went up to the chief justice of the Supreme Court. She stayed, but was not made chief justice, nor elevated to the Supreme Court. She now serves as a PPP MNA.”

Despite women being denied in the past, the legal fraternity is of the opinion that better late than never. Barrister Asad Rahim Khan said that it is fortunate that a requirement with no basis in the law or precedent was not made the basis of appointment. "The current constitutional process for judicial appointments is there for a reason; it’s also why those calling for criteria have yet to frame any of the criteria in question. Justice Ayesha’s elevation is a heartening development,” he added.

Similarly, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Law & Justice, Barrister Ali Zafar, was also elated, stating that Justice Ayesha is an excellent jurist and would be a valuable asset to the Supreme Court. "Her appointment is also a landmark moment because for the first time in the judicial history of Pakistan, we have a woman Justice in the Supreme Court, the highest of the noble offices. I, for one, am proud of our Pakistani women,” he said. Zafar was also of the view that steps should be taken to avoid such an appointment hassle in the future, stating: “The issue of framing a criteria and standards for appointments to the Supreme Court must be resolved once and for all because absolute unbridled discretion should not be left to the majority members in the judicial Commission to pick and choose. Parliament will have to urgently pass a law for this purpose."

The AG believes that the nomination of Justice Ayesha, who was once a partner of the very firm that Justice Qazi Faez Isa was a partner at, is not a favor of any sort but instead the breaking of a glass ceiling. “As to the gender issue, I told the JCP that women are not seeking any favor or preferential treatment. They want equality and removal of artificial barriers raised. Removal of such barriers may require positive action so as to ensure equality. That is also a constitutional obligation in terms of Article the 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan," AG Khalid Jawed Khan told the Express Tribune.
 

ghazi52

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The Parliamentary Committee on the Appointment of Superior Judiciary on Wednesday approved the appointment of Lahore High Court's Justice Ayesha A. Malik as a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.


Following the parliamentary body's green light, Justice Malik is all set to become the first woman to serve as a judge on the country's highest court.

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) had earlier this month approved Justice Malik for elevation to the apex court by a majority of five to four during a heated session that had lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours.

This was the second time that the JCP held a meeting to decide on Justice Malik's elevation. A lack of consensus during an extended meeting of the JCP on Sept 9 last year had forced the commission to reject her elevation.

In a meeting today, the parliamentary committee approved Justice Ayesha for the country's top court with consensus, according to Senator Farooq H. Naek, who heads the body.

Naek said the committee still believed in the principle of seniority for appointment of judges, but added that approval for Justice Malik, who is the fourth most senior judge in the LHC, was given because it was the first time a woman was being elevated to the apex court.

"We have approved Justice Ayesha's name in national interest," said the senator.

Discord over appointment

A lack of consensus over the appointment of Justice Malik had surfaced during the JCP's meeting on Sep 9 last year in which four members of the commission had opposed the proposal to elevate her, while an equal number supported it.

Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, former judge Dost Mohammad Khan and a representative of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Akhtar Hussain, had opposed the idea whereas Chief Justice CJP Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Federal Law Minister Barrister Dr Farogh Naseem and Attorney General (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan had favoured Justice Malik.

At the time, the Supreme Court Bar Association President Abdul Latif Afridi had called a countrywide protest to express anger over disregard to the seniority principle in the appointment of judges to the apex court.

The same criticism was levelled this time as well, with the legal fraternity calling on the chief justice to postpone the JCP meeting. In case the meeting was not called off, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and all bar associations said they would boycott all court proceedings, from the superior judiciary to the lower courts.

While the JCP was holding its session, lawyers had arranged a protest and convention in a nearby office of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA). They accused the judiciary of favouritism in the appointment of superior court judges and thus harming its image.

Through a resolution, the convention had asked the JCP to adhere to the seniority principle in appointments to the apex court from the provincial high courts until such time as fair, transparent and objective criteria for appointment of judges at all levels were framed in consultation with all stakeholders and appropriate amendments to the Judicial Commission Rules were made.

In a related development, LHC Bar Association President Maqsood Buttar had moved a petition before the Supreme Court earlier this month seeking directions that the JCP invite all relevant stakeholders; judges, senior lawyers and bar representatives, members of the parliamentary committee, the federal and provincial governments and civil society and structure the process of judicial appointments to the superior courts to make them more objective and transparent.

The petition also sought directions for the JCP to frame comprehensive and detailed rules/guidelines to structure both the process of and parameters for appointment.

The petition had also asked that until the criteria was developed, the JCP should stick to the seniority principle in the elevation of high court judges to the Supreme Court.

Justice Malik: a brief profile

Justice Malik completed her early education from schools in Paris and New York and then completed her senior Cambridge from the Karachi Grammar School.

She studied law at the Pakistan College of Law in Lahore and went on to do her LLB from the Harvard Law School Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, where she was named a London H Gammon fellow 1998-1999.

From 2001 to the date of her elevation as a high court judge, she worked with the law firm of Rizvi, Isa, Afridi and Angell, first as a senior associate and then a partner in charge of the firm’s Lahore office.

Justice Malik has appeared as a pro-bono counsel for several NGOs working on poverty alleviation, microfinance and skills-training programmes.

She is also author of a number of publications and has taught banking law at University of the Punjab and mercantile law at the College of Accounting and Management Sciences Karachi.
 

ghazi52

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Lahore High Court's (LHC) Justice Ayesha A. Malik was notified as a judge of the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Friday, officially becoming Pakistan's first-ever woman judge to be green lighted to sit on the apex court.

According to a notification issued by the law ministry, her appointment has been approved by President Arif Alvi and will come into effect as soon as she takes oath of office.

The notification, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, said: "In exercise of powers conferred by clause (1) of article 177 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the president is pleased to appoint Mrs Ayesha A. Malik, a judge of the Lahore High Court, [...] as a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan with effect from the date she takes oath of her office."

The development comes two days after the Parliamentary Committee on the Appointment of Superior Judiciary approved the appointment of Justice Malik as a judge of the SC.

For months, Justice Malik’s elevation to the SC was debated as many said it went against the principle of seniority since she is the fourth most senior judge of the LHC.

Those in favour of her elevation pointed out that seniority was not a requirement for appointment to the apex court according to the Constitution and that the country’s judicial history is full of instances of male judges from provincial high courts being elevated without consideration to seniority.

After the parliamentary committee approved her appointment, Senator Farooq H. Naek, who heads the body, had said the committee still believed in the principle of seniority for appointment of judges, but the approval for Justice Malik was given because it was the first time a woman was being elevated to the apex court.

"We have approved Justice Malik's name in national interest," the senator had said.

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) had earlier this month approved Justice Malik for elevation to the apex court by a majority of five to four during a heated session that had lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours.

This was the second time that the JCP held a meeting to decide on Justice Malik's appointment. A lack of consensus during an extended meeting of the JCP on Sept 9 last year had forced the commission to defer a decision on her appointment.
 

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