Proposed Amendments To The 19th Amendment Of Pakistan

Proposed Amendments To The 19th Amendment Of Pakistan
Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms Chairman Senator Raza Rabbani presented a report with the draft of the 19th Amendment Bill to incorporate Supreme Court’s recommendations in the mechanism of the appointment of judges in the superior courts in the National Assembly on 21st December, 2010.
Amendments Proposed
By amending Article 182 of the constitution, the 19th Amendment has withdrawn powers from the chief justice of Pakistan for the appointment of ad hoc judges and transferred them to the Judicial Council of Pakistan (JCP). Under the proposed bill, the president will now carry out the appointments on the recommendation of the JCP.
The committee has also amended clause 2 of the Article 175-A and now under the proposed amendment, four instead of two most senior judges will be appointed in the JCP.
Speaking after presenting the report in the House, Rabbani said the committee’s unanimous report reflected political maturity and seriousness of all parliamentarians and those having representation in the reforms committee.In draft the committee proposed 26 amendments in six articles of the constitution including Articles 81, 175, 175-A, 182, 213 and 246.By rectifying a disagreement in the 18th Amendment, the constitutional reforms committee made an amendment in Article 246 of the constitution in the proposed bill through which the Tribal Areas, adjoining Laki Marwat and Tank districts, have be declared a part of FATA.The committee also proposed that the formerly called High Court for the Islamabad Capital Territory be now named the Islamabad High Court by introducing amendments in Articles 81 and 175.

To remove the Supreme Court’s apprehensions on the future of the Parliamentary Committee for Appointment of Judges in case the National Assembly was dissolved, the constitutional reforms committee proposed an amendment in Article 175-A through which the parliamentary committee comprising senators will take decisions with regards to appointment of judges.

The 19th Amendment Bill also proposed an amendment in Article 175-A which binds the parliamentary committee to justify its decision in case it rejected any nominee of the Judicial Commission for the appointment of judges.

By amending clause 13 of the Article 175-A, the committee included the prime minister in the appointment of judges. Under the 19th amendment draft bill, the parliamentary committee shall send the name of the nominee confirmed by it or deemed to have been confirmed to the prime minister who shall forward it to the president.
Earlier, in the 18th Amendment, the prime minister had no role and the parliamentary committee had to forward the nominees to the president.

The 19th Amendment Bill also proposed that committee meetings will be held in camera and a record of its proceedings shall be maintained.

The parliamentary committee will be allowed discuss and consider the conduct of judges but parliament would not be allowed to discuss the conduct of judges.

The criterion for the representation of the provincial bar councils in the Judicial Commission for the selection of the chief justices of high courts has also been explained.
The senior advocate of the provincial bar council with 15 years of experience will be included in the JC.

In the 19th Amendment Bill, the constitutional reforms committee has also proposed amendments composition of judicial commission for the appointment of judges of the high court.

“A judge who happens to be a candidate for the post of chief justice won’t sit with the high court chief justice and two most senior judges in the JCP. The chief justice of Pakistan, in the absence of provincial chief justice, shall include a former chief justice or a judge in the JCP in consultation with the four senior-most judges included in the JCP,” the amendment says.


Mansoor Ali Jatoi

Author: Mansoor Ali Jatoi

The writer is an Hons. LLB student at University of London (International Programme) at The School of International Law in Islamabad.