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ISLAMABAD: Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh has refused to take oath as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court Tuesday (Aug 17), therefore, the oath-taking ceremony has been cancelled, sources said.

Justice Ahmed Ali, on August 16, wrote separate letters to President Arif Alvi and Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

In the letter to the president on August 16, he wrote; “that I will not be attending the sitting of the Supreme Court.” “The notification has been issued without lawful authority and is of no legal effect,” the letter added.

Earlier, in the day (Monday), Additional Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice Owais Nauman Kundi issued a notification (No F.2(1)/2021-A.II) which stated: “In exercise of the powers conferred by Article 182 of the Constitution, the President is pleased to accord approval to the appointment of Justice Ahmed Ali M. Sheikh as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court, requiring him to attend the sittings of the Supreme Court for a period of one year with effect from the date he make oath of his office.”

Justice Ahmed Ali, in letter to the president, further wrote; “Please note that it is a sine qua non for issuing such a notification that the consent of the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court be obtained.”

He wrote; “I categorically, through three letters dated 5, 6 & 10 August 2021 refused such consent.”

Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh appointed SC ad hoc judge for one year

In the letter to CJP Gulzar Ahmed, he wrote; “The notification was issued in spite of the fact that I consistently and repeatedly declined to give my consent to attend the sittings of the Supreme Court as ad hoc judge.” “Your lordship may recall that I had categorically declined to give consent to be an ad hoc judge of Supreme Court. This was done verbally as well as through three letters dated 5, 6 & 10 August, 2021.”

Justice Ahmed Ali, on August 10, wrote a letter to the members of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), to reiterate his stance of not joining the apex court as an ad hoc judge.

He stated: “As reported in the press, by a majority decision the JCP has decided that I am to attend the sittings of the Supreme Court as an ad hoc judge, but subject to my consent. I am humbled by this decision.”

“With the utmost humility, I reiterate what I stated in my earlier letters of 5 & 6 August, 2021.” “In short, I respectfully, do not so consent,” he wrote.

Justice Ahmed Ali, on August 5 and 6, had also written letters to the JCP members conveying his unwillingness to his join as ad hoc judge, while agreeing to his appointment as permanent judge of the Supreme Court.

The JCP meeting, on August 10 by a majority five to four recommended the nomination of SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh as ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court, but said his appointment will be made subject to his consent.

Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, and Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan had endorsed the nomination, while Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Maqbool Baqar, retired judge Dost Muhammad Khan and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) member in JCP Akhtar Hussain, opposed it.

The PBC has strongly condemned the nomination of Chief Justice of SHC as an ad-hoc judge of the Supreme Court without his consent, by the JCP.

It said that it is a violation of Article 182 of the Constitution, since chief justice cannot be appointed as an ad-hoc judge of the Supreme Court and only a retired judge of the Supreme Court or High Court can be appointed as an ad-hoc judge.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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