February 14, 2010
Pakistan Supreme Court Rejects President's Judicial Nominees
The tensions between the judiciary and the presidency in Pakistan continue with the rejection by the Pakistani Supreme Court of two judicial nominees by President Asif Ali Zardari. The Supreme Court deferred the appointments because the President had not consulted with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as required by the Pakistani Constitution. Some news reports suggest that the President did in fact consult with the Chief Justice, but went ahead with the appointments despite the Chief Justice's objections, prompting an emergency order from the Court postponing the nominations.
Many readers of this blog will recall that in 2007, former Pakistani President Musharraf dismissed all the judges on the Supreme Court and High Court. Public protest led to the reinstatement of many of the judges. This latest episode demonstrates that tense relations between the judiciary and the executive branch continue. Last month, the Pakistani Supreme Court issued a decision declaring unconstitutional an ordinance that provided immunity from suit for the president and thousands of other government officials on corruption, money laundering, embezzlement and other charges. President Zardari can now be charged, but cannot be prosecuted while in office.
February 14, 2010 | Permalink
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The President is bound to consult the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan before making an appointment to the High Courts and the Supreme Court of Pakistan (Al-Jihad Trust v. Federation of Pakistan - 1996 Pakistan Legal Decisions (Supreme Court) 324). On 13 February 2010, the President appointed the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court to the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the same notification required the senior-most judge at the Lahore High Court to take oath on Sunday, 14 February 2010, as the Acting Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court. The Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court refused to be appointed to the Supreme Court without the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the other judge refused to take the oath as the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court in the presence of the incumbent. This happened within the first hour of the issuance of the notification. Soon thereafter, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court hurriedly constituted a bench of three judges who declared the Presidential notification invalid within the next three hours.
The Prime Minister diffused the situation on Tuesday by visiting the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at his residence. A visit that was reciprocated by the Chief Justice by visiting the Prime Minister's House the next day. The government withdrew the notification and issued a notification for the appointment of judges recommended earlier by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Posted by: Usman Ghazi | Feb 18, 2010 8:40:04 AM