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Saturday February 24, 2024

Attorney General post constitutional, cannot be left vacant: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has held that the AGP is a constitutional post and it cannot be left vacant as there is no mention of an acting Attorney General in the Constitution

January 14, 2023
The Supreme Court of Pakistan building in Islamabad. The SCP website.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan building in Islamabad. The SCP website. 

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has held that the Attorney General for Pakistan is a constitutional post and it cannot be left vacant as there is no mention of an acting Attorney General in the Constitution.

A two-member bench of the court comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar issued a written order on a petition filed by the federation of Pakistan through the Ministry of Defense verses Mrs Ajmal Samia. “The law also requires notice to the Attorney-General under Order XXVIIA of the Code of Civil Procedure (and not to a DAG or Additional Attorney-General) in certain cases,” says the written order.

The court noted that neither a DAG nor an Additional Attorney General was a substitute for the Attorney General. “We may also assume that when a DAG or an Additional Attorney General attends court he/she does so on instructions received from the Attorney General. Therefore, the court directed that the AGP (whoever that may be) and the federal law secretary should be in attendance on the next date,” it added.

The court noted in its order that Raja Shafqat Abbasi, learned Deputy Attorney General (DAG) while representing the federation commenced his arguments but basic facts were not enumerated precisely. “Therefore, we wanted to send for the Attorney General for Pakistan so that he could come and render proper assistance. However, on enquiring who the Attorney General is, we were not given a satisfactory answer to what is a simple query”, says the written order

“We then called upon Chaudhry Aamir Rehman, learned Additional Attorney General, present in court, to answer our query and he said he was unable to”, the court noted.

“It transpires that Ashtar Ausaf Ali resigned from the post of Attorney General a couple of months back and in his stead no one has been appointed till date despite lapse of more than a reasonable period”, the written order added.

The court held that Article 100 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan stipulates that: ‘100. (1) The President shall appoint a person, being a person qualified to be appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court, to be the Attorney-General for Pakistan.

The Attorney General shall hold office during the pleasure of the President and shall not engage in private practice so long as he holds the office of the Attorney-General.

It shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to give advice to the Federal Government upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may be referred or assigned to him by the Federal Government, and in the performance of his duties he shall have the right of audience in all courts and tribunals in Pakistan. The Attorney General may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office.”