ISLAMABAD: While the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) at its Tuesday meeting is expected to consider the incumbent chief justice of the Sindh High Court (SHC) Ahmed Ali M. Sheikh for elevation to the position of Supreme Court’s ad hoc judge, the latter has not accorded his consent for the office, it emerged on Saturday.
“A disaster is going to happen if the JCP meets on Tuesday to consider taking CJ-SHC in the Supreme Court when he has refused this position,” an informed source privy to the development told Dawn, adding it would only be wise to abort the meeting in this situation.
However, it is debatable if the judge is required to follow whatever the JCP decides or seeking his consent for his appointment as the ad hoc judge of the apex court is essential.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed had called the JCP meeting on Aug 10, with the understanding that the SHC chief justice was unlikely to refuse the appointment.
JCP to consider judge’s nomination in its Tuesday meeting
The decision to take the SHC chief justice as ad hoc judge was made considering the sensitivities attached with Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar’s recent appointment to the apex court, the source said, adding that past ad hoc judges were appointed to the SC keeping in view the expertise of the outgoing permanent judge to help clearing the backlog of cases.
Had he consented to accept the offer, his elevation would have been a fresh development and interestingly he would have continued to retain the office of the chief justice of the high court till the time he retires either as the ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court or reverting back to his original office of the chief justice of the high court.
In his place, the senior puisine judge namely Justice Irfan Saadat Khan would have been appointed as the acting chief justice of the SHC to officiate.
Earlier on July 28, Justice Mazhar was nominated at the JCP meeting for his elevation after it deliberated other aspects and a comparative study of cases decided by the five senior judges out of existing 32 judges of the SHC.
The comparative study, the copy of which is available with Dawn, suggested that from 2010 to 2021, Justice Mazhar decided 357 cases in all. Of them, detailed judgements were issued in 294 cases and short verdicts comprising three or less than three pages, having no detailed discussion, were issued in 63 cases. Of the 357 cases, 111 were constitutional petitions while others were bail petitions, criminal appeals, civil suits, tax matters etc.
Likewise, the SHC chief justice decided 42 cases during the same period issuing detailed judgements in 19 of the cases and 23 short orders on 20 constitutional petitions.
Justice Irfan Saadat Khan decided 187 cases during the same period. Of them, detailed judgements were issued in 143 cases while 44 short orders were issued.
Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi decided 259 cases during this period. Of these verdicts, 195 were detailed judgments and 64 were short orders with 111 constitutional petitions.
Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi decided 106 cases of which 55 were detailed judgements and 51 short orders with 11 constitutional petitions.
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2021