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PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Wednesday issued notices to attorney general for Pakistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa advocate general in a writ petition, challenging holding of oath-taking ceremony of governor at the Governor’s House instead of high court.

The bench comprising Justice Qaiser Rahseed and Justice Nasir Mehfooz fixed September 4 for next hearing of the writ petition filed by Advocate Shabir Hussain Gigyani. The bench directed that the attorney general and advocate general should put forward their point of view over the issue.

The bench issued the order after preliminary hearing of the petition wherein the petitioner contended that the new as well as future governor should take oath before the high court chief justice at the high court and not at Governor’s House as per the real interpretation of Article 102 of Constitution.

Mr GIgyani argued that just like a chief justice of the high court visited Governor’s House to take oath of his office from the governor, the governor-designate should visit high court to take oath of his office, administered by the chief justice of the high court.

Sept 4 fixed for next hearing of petition that wants ceremony held at PHC instead of Governor’s House

He also requested the court to grant interim relief and stay the oath taking of the incoming governor. That request would be heard on next date.

The post of governor fell vacant after the resignation of Iqbal Zafar Jhagra that was accepted by the President of Pakistan on August 20. Presently, KP Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani is serving as acting governor.

The respondents in the petition are: principal secretary to President of Pakistan; principal secretary to prime minister; secretary cabinet division; secretary law and parliamentary affairs Islamabad; principal secretary to KP governor; attorney general for Pakistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa advocate general.

The counsel argued that as per the real interpretation of Article 102 of Constitution, it was mandatory that before entering the office, the governor should take oath before the chief justice of the high court.

He pointed out that just like the chief justice visited the Governor’s House to take oath of his office, administered by the governor, the governor-designate was also required to appear before the chief justice to take oath before entering his office.

The petitioner said that in utter violation of the mandate of Article 102 neither the governor honoured the term “before the chief justice of the high court” by proceeding to the high court for taking oath, nor the term “before entering upon office” was complied with, which was evident from oath taking ceremonies at the governor’s houses of all the provinces.

Mr Gigyani contended that this non-compliance with the mandate of Article 102 was liable to be declared as illegal and unlawful.

He questioned whether in case of Article 102 movement of a sitting chief justice towards a designated governor would not be a question mark on the independence of judiciary.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2018