Justice Ayesha A Malik on Friday was notified as a judge of the Supreme Court and she is likely to be sworn in as the first female judge of the top court in the countryâ€™s history on January 24 (Monday).
The law ministry issued a notification according to which the appointment of the Lahore High Court judge had been approved by President Arif Alvi and would come into effect as soon as she took her oath of office.
The notification, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, read: “In exercise of powers conferred by clause (1) of article 177 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the president is pleased to appoint Mrs Ayesha A. Malik, a judge of the Lahore High Court, […] as a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan with effect from the date she takes oath of her office.”
She is likely to take oath as the Supreme Court Judge on Monday at 9:00 am which will be administered by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CPJ) Gulzar Ahmed.
Two days ago, the parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment had unanimously approved the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik as a top court judge.
A member of the committee had told The Express Tribune that the decision was made in light of Justice Ayesha’s gender.
However, the official had insisted that the seniority principle would be adhered to in the future.
On January 6, the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) had approved with a vote of five to four the nomination of Justice Ayesha to the SC.
Justice Ayesha, who ranks number four on the LHC judgesâ€™ seniority list, became a judge in March 2012.
She will now work as a Supreme Court judge until June 2031. She could also become the CJP after the retirement of Justice Yahya Afridi in January 2030.
Regarding the nomination of Justice Ayesha, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) representative in JCP Akhtar Hussain had confirmed that CJP Gulzar, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, retired judge Sarmad Jalal Osmani, Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan and Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem had endorsed her name for appointment as an SC judge.
However, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and PBC representative Akhtar Hussain had opposed her nomination.
The four members insisted that criteria should be evolved for the appointment of superior court judges first, adding that the seniority principle should be followed for the appointment of SC judges.
Earlier, the JCP considered her nomination in the month of September but a consensus could not be evolved.
It was learnt that majority members including the AGP urged that criteria should be set for judgesâ€™ appointment by amending the JCP Rules, 2010.
Later, CJP Gulzar agreed that a committee comprising JCP members would be formed to lay down the criteria by amending the rules.
Separately, a farewell ceremony was held at the LHC in the honour of Justice Ayesha on her elevation as an SC judge. The ceremony was held at the LHC’s judgesâ€™ lounge, wherein LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Justice Shujaat Ali Khan, Justice Shahid Waheed, Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and other judges participated.
The chief justice along with other senior judges presented a bouquet to Justice Ayesha on the occasion. LHC Registrar Irfan Ahmad Saeed, District Judiciary Director General Masood Arshad, District and Sessions Judge Human Resource Abdul Rashid Abid, officers and court staff also attended the ceremony.
After the elevation of Justice Ayesha, the strength of LHC judges has become 47.
(With input from APP)