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February 13, 2018

Disqualification period case: SC imposes Rs20,000 fine on AG over non-appearance

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February 13, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday asked Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali to pay Rs20,000 over his failure to appear before it in a matter related to the interpretation of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah was hearing 13 identical pleas, seeking interpretation and determination of length of disqualification in the available provisions of the Constitution as well as election laws.

The chief justice took notice of non-appearance of the attorney general and directed that he should pay Rs20,000 which will be deposited to Fatimid Foundation. Waqar Rana, Additional Attorney General, informed the court that the attorney general is in Lahore in connection with funeral of former president of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Asma Jahangir, and sought adjournment until tomorrow (Wednesday). But the chief justice ordered attorney general to pay fine from his pocket. The chief justice said that they too are saddened by the demise of Asma Jahangir but the important matter taken up by the court cannot be ignored.

The chief justice reminded the law officer that the court had issued the attorney general a notice to appear. Waqar Rana informed the court that attorney general was scheduled to go abroad for a tour at which the chief justice said how the attorney general could leave the country during the hearing of an important case. “What sort of attitude is this?” the CJ remarked.

Justice Saqib Nisar then directed that Ashtar Ausaf should appear before the court by 4:30pm to present his arguments and withdrew earlier order relating to cost. Later on, when the attorney general did not appear before the court at 4:30pm, the court again directed Ashtar Ausaf to pay Rs20,000 due to his failure to appear before the court.

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