SHC CJ again declines offer to become ad hoc SC judge

Published August 12, 2021
This file photo shows Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Sheikh. — Photo courtesy SHC website/File
This file photo shows Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Sheikh. — Photo courtesy SHC website/File

ISLAMABAD: Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh has again refused to attend sittings of the Supreme Court as an ad hoc judge, saying he is humbled by the offer of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), but his answer is similar as earlier.

The SHC chief justice had through his Aug 5 letter to the JCP dispelled an impression that he had ever accorded his consent to become an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court. However, he had said he would have no objection if he was appointed or elevated to the Supreme Court as a permanent judge.

A source privy to the development told Dawn that the SHC chief justice communicated to all the JCP members that he had learnt about the commission’s decision for which he was humbled, but his answer would remain the same as he had stated earlier.

Thus the matter is closed for all times to come, commented a senior counsel on condition of anonymity, adding that turning down the offer carried no consequences as Justice Shaikh would continue to remain as the SHC chief justice. Had he accepted the offer, he would have still been the chief justice and in his place the senior puisine judge of the SHC would have served as acting chief justice of the high court, the counsel said.

In a written argument before the JCP, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan had earnestly requested Justice Shaikh to reconsider his stance in the interest of the people of Sindh and the institution of the SHC, which “we all love and cherish”, and accept the JCP decision.

The JCP at a meeting on Tuesday, presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed, had decided by a majority of five to four that the SHC chief justice would be invited to become an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court for a period of one year provided he accorded his consent.

CJP Gulzar, who was present at a seminar on minority rights at a hotel here on Wednesday, said he had no idea when media persons asked him whether or not the SHC chief justice had consented to become an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman Khush Dil Khan has strongly condemned the nomination of Justice Shaikh as an ad hoc judge of the apex court, without his consent, by the JCP at its Tuesday meeting, after he had expressed his unwillingness to become an ad hoc judge.

He said it was a violation of Article 182 of the Constitution as the high court chief justice could not be appointed as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court. Only a retired judge of the apex court or high court could be appointed as an ad hoc judge of the apex court, he contended.

Khushdil Khan expressed his surprise that on July 28 the SHC chief justice was not competent to be elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court, but after two weeks he became eligible and competent for appointment as an ad hoc judge of the apex court. He said the legal fraternity felt that a bad constitutional precedent was being set through this ad hoc appointment which would further weaken the judicial system in the country.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2021

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