Parliamentary Committee on Appointment of Judges in Superior Courts on Tuesday approved amendments in the relevant provisions of the constitution regarding appointments as per seniority, suo moto notice, references against judges and enhancing upper age limit for High Court judges. The Committee meeting, chaired by Senator Farooq H Naek, unanimously approved the constitutional amendments regarding judiciary as proposed by the Chairman of the committee, said a press release issued by Senate Secretariat. The committee decided that the appointment of the judges in the Supreme Court will be made in accordance with their seniority which shall be determined with reference to their date of appointment as a judge of the High court and in case the dates of the appointments of the Judges are the same, then the decision will be made on the basis of their age. The committee also decided that the Ad-hoc/Acting Judges in the Supreme Court will be appointed subject to confirmation by the Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointments in the Superior Courts. It further approved an amendment in Clause 3 of the Article 184, of the Constitution according to which when the Suo Motu powers in the human rights case are exercised by the Supreme Court, the case would be heard by three judges of the Supreme Court and appeal against the order can be filed within 30 days to be decided by the five judges of the Supreme Court within 60 days. It was also decided that if an appeal against an order under this Article has been made, the order appealed against, shall not be implemented till the pending decision of the appeal. The Committee also approved the recommendation that age of retirement of High Court Judge will be enhanced from existing 62 years to 65 years as in the case of a judge of the Supreme Court. It also approved an amendment in Article 209 of the Constitution, proposed by the Chairman of the Committee and decided that a reference on account of misconduct against the Judge of the Superior Judiciary, will be decided by the Supreme Judicial Council within 90 days. The Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment also discussed the Article 175-A of the Constitution, dealing with the manner of appointment of the judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and composition of Supreme Judicial Council. It was decided that the issue will be further deliberated upon in the next meeting of the Committee. The Committee also decided to invite the Federal Minister for Law and Justice in its next meeting. The meeting of the Committee on Appointment of Judges was attended by Senators Azam Nazeer Tarar, Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti, MNAs Ali Muhammad Khan, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Rana Sana Ullah Khan and Secretary Senate of Pakistan, Mohammad Qasim Samad Khan. ELEVATION OF JUDGES: The parliamentary panel’s approval of constitutional amendments comes weeks after the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) opposed the move by the JCP to nominate Justice Ayesha Malik, the fourth most senior judge in the Lahore High Court, for elevation to the Supreme Court. PBC vice chairman Khushdil Khan had said at the time that Justice Ayesha’s elevation would ignore not only the LHC judges senior to her, including the chief justice, but also the chief justices of other high courts. He said such nominations would affect the performance of senior judges. Elevation and appointment of other judges have also led to opposition by bar councils in recent months. In July, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) had voiced concern over the proposal to elevate a “junior” judge of the Sindh High Court to the Supreme Court, saying that it would raise questions about the capability of the four “senior justices being bypassed”. The JCP had later approved the elevation of the judge who was fifth on the seniority list of SHC, drawing a strong reaction from the Pakistan Bar Council.