The Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan under Article 176 envisages that the number of Judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan shall be determined by an Act of Parliament. In the light of this provision “The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1997” has determined that the number of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan other than the Chief Justice shall be sixteen. A person with five years experience as a Judge of High Court or 15 years experience as advocate of High Court is eligible to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan and each of other judges of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President in accordance with Article 175A, inserted through 18th and 19th Constitutional amendments. These Constitutional amendments have devised a new scheme for appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court, Federal Shariat Court and High Courts.
These Constitutional amendments provide for the constitution of Judicial Commission of Pakistan and Parliamentary Committee. The Judicial Commission of Pakistan consists of Chief Justice of Pakistan as Chairman, four senior most judges of the Supreme Court, one former Chief Justice or judge of the Supreme Court nominated by the Chairman in consultation with four member judges for a period of two years, the Attorney General for Pakistan, the Federal Law Minister and a senior advocate of Supreme Court of Pakistan nominated by the Pakistan Bar Council. Similarly, the Parliamentary Committee consists of eight members with equal membership from the Treasury and Opposition Benches as well as of two Houses i.e. National Assembly and Senate. The nomination of the members from the Treasury Benches shall be made by the Leader of the House and from Opposition Benches by the Leader of the Opposition, provided that when the National Assembly is dissolved, the total membership of the Parliamentary Committee shall consist of the members from the Senate only.
The Judicial Commission of Pakistan shall nominate a name for the appointment as judge of Supreme Court in majority after evaluating professional competency and antecedents. The recommendations of the Judicial Commission are sent to the Parliamentary Committee. The Committee after receipt of nomination from the Commission may confirm the nominee by majority of its total membership within fourteen days, failing which the nomination shall be deemed to have been confirmed. However, the Committee may not confirm the nomination for reasons to be recorded, by three-fourth majority within said period and forward it to the Commission through Prime Minister and in such case the Commission shall send another nomination. The Committee shall send the name of the nominee confirmed by it or deemed to have been confirmed to the Prime Minister who shall forward the same to the President for appointment.