Committee To Review JCP Rules Relents, Includes 8 Women

Committee also includes four men from lower judiciary to grant greater representation and inclusion

Committee To Review JCP Rules Relents, Includes 8 Women

In a victory for women lawyers, eight women judges and lawyers have been included in a committee of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), while female members of the legal fraternity have been asked to send their proposals on revised rules for the appointment of judges in the superior courts.

A press statement issued by the Supreme Court on Thursday said that Justices Ayesha A. Malik and Musarrat Hilali of the Supreme Court, Sindh High Court's (SHC) Justice Kausar Sultana Hussain, Islamabad High Court's (IHC) Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz, Justice (retired) Syeda Tahira Safdar, retired District and Sessions Judge (D&SJ) Mahrukh Aziz, Advocate Hina Jilani (former chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), Advisor on International Commission of Jurists Reema Omer have been included in the committee. 

Retired D&SJ Hayat Ali Shah, retired D&SJ Imdad Hussain Khoso, retired D&SJ Rashid Mehmood and public sector governance expert Rafiullah Kakar have also been included in the committee. 

A meeting of the committee constituted to review the Judicial Commission of Pakistan Rules 2010, was held on December 16 and was co-chaired by Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice (retired) Manzoor Ahmed Malik. 

The committee has been tasked with proposing rules of procedure for the commission in appointing judges in the country's constitutional courts that comply with the collegial and inclusive decision-making process enshrined in Article 175-A of the Constitution.

Important areas for consideration for proposing amendments in the 2010 Rules include the process for convening meetings of the commission and making decisions. 

It also includes the process for initiation of nominations in the Supreme Court, initiation of nominations in the high courts, criteria for appointing judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts and confirmation of additional judges in the high courts.

The co-chairs, on December 16, decided to co-opt the individuals as mentioned earlier in the committee to ensure adequate representation of women and the district judiciary, as well as adding a public sector governance expert to send 
in their proposals/recommendations to the committee.

The announcement, however, came after a body of women lawyers wrote an open letter making a case for including women in the committee to ensure inclusivity in the decision-making process.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain