Elevation of women judges bill deferred ISLAMABAD: Another move to elevate women judges to the Supreme Court was almost blocked on Tuesday allegedly due to a lack of interest shown by the government.
The issue was thoroughly discussed by the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice that met in the Parliament Lodges but was deferred as the mover of the bill, Senator Babar Awan, was not present.
“The previous bill was rejected by a standing committee, but there is no restriction on elevation of women judges to the Supreme Court (SC) under the Constitution,” he said.
“But we need more women to enter the legal profession and prove themselves then they will be elevated from their present positions,” he added.
The minister said since there was no quota system in the apex court for appointment of women judges, the previous bill regarding appointment of women judges to the apex court was rejected.
No woman, so far has been elevated to the SC, despite the fact that many women judges’ have served in high courts.
Discussing the issue of women judges’ appointments, the standing committee said that there could not be a quota for women judges in the SC directly, as they were elevated from the high court.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MNA Dr Nikhat Shakeel Khan said on the floor of the house that since the previous bill had been rejected, Dr Khan and her colleagues were introducing a fresh bill for the elevation of women judges in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
The bill introduced by Saman Sultana Jafri, Dr Khan, Kishwar Zehra, Sheikh Salahuddin, Sufyan Yousuf and Muhammad Muzammil Qureshi said: “Women are under-represented in Pakistan’s legal profession, particularly in the superior judiciary. It is noted that only 5.8 per cent of high court judges in the country are women, and to date, no woman has been appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court or as chief justice of any of the high courts.
“Keeping in mind the fact, a bill had been submitted to the National Assembly for mandatory representation of women in the Supreme Court, the bill was referred to standing committee on law, the bill was deliberated by the committee and suggested that initially we must start giving representation to women in high courts.
“Therefore, it is proposed through this bill to give due representation to women in the Islamabad High Court.”
NAB Appointments: The senate committee also deferred the issue of controversial appointments in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
The issue was raised by Senator Saeed Ghani regarding recalling/withdrawal of order by NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry under which acting/current charges were given to various officers of NAB, in violation of rules and re-appointment of same officers on the same day, in the Own Pay Scale.