MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Supreme Court on Monday took strong exception to non-implementation of its judgment on the appointment of chief election commissioner CEC, directing for personal appearance of law minister and chief secretary before it on Wednesday.

On January 25, the apex court had ruled that an advice issued by the AJK Council on November 16, 2015 about the appointment of AJK High Court Chief Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal as permanent CEC “is valid and legal advice and holds the field”.

However, more than a week before the announcement of the judgment, the AJK government got the law dealing with terms and conditions of CEC amended from the Legislative Assembly at the strength of its numerical strength, while the matter was still sub judice in the apex court.

As the amended law, whereby a serving judge was rendered ineligible to be appointed as CEC, created a fresh confusion, opposition PML-N lawmakers Chaudhry Tariq Farooq and Dr Najeeb Naqi filed an application in the apex court for initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the government and others concerned.

On Monday, Raza Ali Khan, counsel for the petitioners, completed his arguments on the case, following which Chief Justice Mohammad Azam Khan remarked that prima facie it did constitute a case for contempt of court proceedings.

However, he summoned the law minister, chief secretary and law secretary in the courtroom at 2pm.

At 2pm, only law secretary Idrees Abbasi appeared before the court and informed the bench that both the law minister and the chief secretary were unable to make an appearance for being in Islamabad on account of treatment and an official meeting, respectively.

On this, the CJ remarked that the decisions of the court were meant for implementation and that the court had nothing to do with what proceedings had been held in the Legislative Assembly.

Justice Chaudhry Mohammad Ibrahim Zia referred to section 5 of the AJK Election Ordinance and observed that any attempt to scandalise the judgments of court not only amounted to the contempt of the court but could also render the lawmaker concerned disqualified.

The court also rebuked the law secretary for his alleged failure to serve as a bridge between the government and the court.

The court deferred the case till Wednesday and directed the law secretary to ensure presence of his minister and chief secretary.

“It would however be much better if you bring the notification, envisaging implementation of the court judgment of January 25,” the court said.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2016

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