Pakistan's Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry today formed a five-judge bench to take up an application filed by the government that asks the Supreme Court to spell out the President's role in the appointment of judges.
Earlier in the day, the Law Ministry filed the application on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain will head the larger bench that will hear the "presidential reference" filed under
Article 186 of the Constitution on December 10.
The application was filed following a standoff between the apex court and the President over the appointment of a new Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court and the extension of the tenure of several judges.
The President had rejected the names cleared by a judicial commission headed by Chief Justice Chaudhry.
Following this, the apex court had contended that the President was bound to clear the appointment of judges whose
names had been cleared by the judicial commission and a parliamentary committee.
Zardari had objected to the judge recommended for the post of Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court, saying there was another judge senior to him.
The application filed in the Supreme Court was signed by the President yesterday.
It raised several questions and sought advice from the apex court on issues like the seniority of judges and the role of the judicial commission and the parliamentary committee.
The application further questioned whether the judicial commission had acted in accordance with the Constitution and conventions in recommending a junior judge for appointment as Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court.
It also questioned whether the judicial commission was properly constituted in line with constitutional provisions.
The application asked whether the President is "obliged to make appointments which are not in accordance with the
provisions of the Constitution".
The Pakistan People Party-led government and the judiciary have been locked in a tussle for some time now over the
procedures for appointing members of the superior judiciary.