KARACHI: Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh attended his office as usual on Tuesday while lawyers boycotted court proceedings across the metropolis in protest against his appointment as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court by the president.
Members of the Sindh Bar Council, SHC Bar Association, Karachi Bar Association and District Malir Bar Association observed a strike and stayed away from legal proceedings against issuance of a notification by President Arif Alvi, a day ago, regarding ad hoc appointment of Justice Shaikh for a period of one year with effect from the latter’s joining of the bench.
Courts in the city wore a deserted look due to the strike. Several hundred cases fixed for the day at the SHC, City Courts, District Malir Courts, the special courts and tribunals could not be proceeded, causing frustration and inconvenience to litigants.
Justice Ali Ahmed Shaikh insists on his appointment to the SC on permanent basis
However, the chief justice and other judges of Sindh High Court as well as judges of subordinate courts, special courts and tribunals did turn up and remained present in their chambers to entertain matters of urgent nature.Speaking to the media, SHCBA president Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed noted that Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh did not attend the ceremony of his oath-taking in Islamabad.
“Rather, CJ Shaikh has been attending his SHC office as usual since his refusal to join the apex court bench as an ad hoc judge,” he said, adding there were no adverse legal consequences or implications for him in continuing as the chief justice of the Sindh High Court.
“The notification issued by the president in this regard is illegal and has no legal effect,” he opined.
Hours after the issuance of the notification on Monday, CJ Shaikh addressed a letter to President Arif Alvi and another one to Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed excusing that he could not join the SC on an ad hoc basis.
CJ Shaikh also declined to attend the ceremony of his oath-taking which was scheduled in Islamabad for Tuesday (Aug 17), maintaining that he had never given his consent to join an SC bench on an ad hoc basis. He said he would like to be appointed to the SC as a permanent judge.
He held that the presidential notification on his appointment as an ad hoc judge was “without lawful authority and of no legal effect”.
Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh’s ad hoc appointment was made by President Alvi on the advice of Prime Minister Imran Khan after the Judicial Commission of Pakistan last week decided the matter by a majority vote of five to four. It was decided that the appointment be made for a period of one year provided he accorded his consent.
CJ Shaikh in his earlier letter to the CJP also dispelled the impression that he had ever accorded his consent on attending sittings of the Supreme Court as an ad hoc judge and made it clear that he had consented to the appointment only on a permanent basis.
Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2021