Appointment date to determine judges’ seniority: SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared that the “seniority” of the judges of a high court will be determined from the order and date of their appointment as “additional judges” of that court.
A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP), in its short order, observed that the “seniority of additional judges” of a high court appointed vide the same order and date shall reckon from their seniority in age. The SC in its order directed that if appointment of two or more service candidates is simultaneously made with that of the “candidates from the Bar”, the “service Judges” shall retain their existing seniority in the department regardless of their “age”, though that would be the determining factor in respect of their seniority viz a viz the candidates from the Bar.
The larger bench of the SC declared that this principle has consistently been followed without exception ever-since the establishment of the High Courts in Pakistan and is even otherwise in accord with the “equitable dispensation of justice”.  With these above mentioned observations and declaration the SC dismissed the petition regarding the seniority of Lahore High Court (LHC) judges and the detailed judgment of the case would be issued later.  Earlier, the SC during last hearing of the case observed that “constitution never suggested any discrimination” between an additional judge and a permanent judge.
The Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Sulman Butt submitted the apex court that an additional judge is appointed by the President but he has no authority to terminate a judge. The lawyer for petitioner Aslam Awan, Advocate Zaka-u-Rehman while completing his argument pleaded the court that the “seniority should be considered” of an additional judge when he is instated as “permanent”. After hearing the petitioner lawyer the apex court adjourned the case for today and directed the AGP to continue his arguments.

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