ISLAMABAD: In an astounding turn of events, another top judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, on Thursday, tendered his resignation, stating “he no longer wishes to continue as a SC judge”.

Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi had stepped down as a judge of the apex court, a day ago (January 10), as proceedings are going on against him in Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for amassing illegitimate assets and misconduct.

Justice Ahsan was slated to become chief justice of Pakistan after the retirement of incumbent CJP Qazi Faez Isa. Following his resignation, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah will be the next chief justice, as he has become the senior-most SC judge.

A day after Justice Naqvi, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan also steps down as SC judge

According to the resignation addressed to President Dr Arif Alvi, Justice Ahsan said: “I no longer wish to continue as a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.” He also wrote; “I resign as per Article 206(1) of the Constitution with immediate effect.” The letter did not mention a reason for the resignation.

Justice Ahsan was heading a five-judge bench, which had declared that the clause (d) of subsection (1) of Section 2 of the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 (in both of its sub-clauses (i) and (ii)) and subsection (4) of Section 59 of the said Act are ultra vires the Constitution and of no legal effect. It also declared that the trial of civilians, arrested in the aftermath of 9th May incident, by military courts is null and void and ordered that they be tried by criminal courts established under the ordinary and/or special law. Justice Ahsan, being third in seniority list of Supreme Court judges, on Thursday declined to be part of SJC which heard complaints against Justice Naqvi in open court. He had also refused to join other members of the council on November 22, 2023, in the issuance of a fresh show-cause notice to Justice Naqvi.

In his letter to the SJC members on Tuesday, Justice Ahsan regretted the hasty proceedings and that debate and discussion were non-existent and were not permitted during the ongoing council proceedings.

“Thus Nov 22, 2023 proceedings when the second show-cause notice was issued against Justice Naqvi were completely devoid of any discussion or deliberation whatsoever,” he had said.

This manner of proceedings has cast an unwelcome doubt over the whole process; therefore, he disagreed with the process followed and the manner in which the proceedings were being conducted.

Referring to the allegations in the complaint against the judge, the letter regretted these were utterly without merit or substance, both in law and even on a prima facie appraisal of the facts.

The letter regretted that a reasoned and deliberative approach ought to have been adopted which would have prevented the council from falling into the error that was committed with the issuance of the show-cause notice.

Justice Ahsan was part of the five-member bench that passed the judgment in the high-profile Panamagate case in 2017, which led to the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, the then-prime minister. He was the monitoring judge to supervise and monitor the implementation of the Panamagate case verdict. Justice Ahsan assumed the position of chief justice of the Lahore High Court on November 6, 2015. A year later, on June 28, 2016, he was elevated to the position of judge in the Supreme Court.

On April 10, 2023, lawyer Sardar Salman Ahmad Dogar had moved a reference before the SJC against Justice Ahsan and others.

The complaint had alleged judicial misconduct on the part of former CJP Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ahsan, and other SC judges. The complainant based his reference on an alleged violation of the Code of Conduct for judges of the superior judiciary issued by the SJC on September 2, 2009.

On April 14, a complaint was filed in the SJC against eight SC judges hearing petitions challenging a proposed law to curtail the powers of the CJP. The reference, filed by lawyer Mian Dawood, had sought the removal of former CJP Bandial, Justice Ahsan, and others over alleged misconduct and deviation from the judges’ code of conduct.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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Bashir A Aziz Jan 12, 2024 06:25am
Another sad day for my country!
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Rashid Jan 12, 2024 09:02am
He resigned as he couldn’t tolerate the interference in judicial proceedings
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Parvez Jan 12, 2024 11:13am
This is no court for good men.
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