Justice Ayesha Malik not elevated to SC judge following protest from senior lawyers opposing her nomination
Reports state that the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has welcomed the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Disappointment takes over Pakistani lawyers as the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) disapproves the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik as a Supreme Court (SC) judge. According to media reports, the court recently announced its decision in this regard.
A senior journalist, Hasnaat Malik, took to Twitter to share:
Judicial Commission could not approve the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik as Supreme Court Judge of Pakistan, so no elevation of a female judge to Supreme Court will be done.
Sharing why this happened, the journalist tweeted:
There was a tie in the JCP meeting. Four members were in favor, while four opposed Justice Ayesha’s elevation. Under the constitution, JCP had to decide by majority members.
There was tie in JCP meeting. Four members were in favour while four opposed Justice Ayesha's elevation. Under the constitution, JCP has to decide by majority members. https://t.co/JcD1suDvkM
— Hasnaat Malik (@HasnaatMalik) September 9, 2021
Hasnaat Malik concluded the statement by saying:
It is a dark day for Pakistani lawyers because first-time nominee of a woman judge’s elevation to the Supreme Court could not be approved.
Female Lawyers express their disappointment with JCP
Speaking to a media outlet, lawyer Noor Ejaz said:
As a lawyer, I feel that the JCP needed to set transparent criteria for appointment, failing which has resulted in what we have seen today. And I feel that the more unstructured this becomes, the more transparency is lost within the judicial system.
She further stated:
As a woman, I am disappointed. Women in law have rarely been given high ranks without being under strict scrutiny. I hope Justice Ayesha serves as the CJ of the Lahore High Court and is elevated to the Supreme Court soon. I hope the JCP implements a structure so that other women can aspire towards higher office without fearing how discretion might treat them.
Justice Ayesha Malik to become Chief Justice?
Journalist Hasnaat Malik also shared:
Now that Justice Ayesha has not been elevated to the SC, she will become Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court. Justice Ayesha’s name can be initiated anytime for the SC.
Reports state that the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has welcomed the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. However, several bodies representing lawyers across the country gathered in large numbers at a convention in front of the Supreme Court on the 9th of September to register their protest against the elevation of Justice Ayesha Malik.
Sources state that the lawyers are up in arms over the nomination as they feel it violates the seniority principle since Justice Ayesha Malik is only the fourth most senior judge at the LHC.
Akhtar Hussain, a senior member of the PBC who represents the council in JCP meetings, said:
The commission has wrongfully ignored the seniority principle for the elevation of high court judges to the Supreme Court. Why was Justice Mussarat Hilali, fourth in the Peshawar High Court’s seniority list, not considered? Or what about Justice Athar Minallah, the Islamabad High Court’s Chief Justice, who is the country’s most senior high court judge?
About Justice Ayesha Malik
According to sources, Justice Ayesha Malik completed her education in Paris and New York. She obtained her Senior Cambridge certification from the Karachi Grammar School in Karachi and did her A-Levels from the Francis Holland School for Girls in London. She is the mother of three children.
Justice Malik assumed office in March 2012 and became known for fighting pro bono cases for NGOs, working on poverty alleviation, microfinance, and skills training programs. However, she rose to fame when she authored the landmark verdict banning two-finger and hymen tests of rape survivors in Punjab. Due to her efforts, the court ruled the tests as ‘illegal and unconstitutional.
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