Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Justice (R) Syed Sajjad Ali Shah

Syed Sajjad Ali Shah was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. In 1997, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's party was elected with a majority large enough for Sharif to change the Constitution to remove several checks and balances on the office of Prime Minister. Sharif dismissed Ali Shah after he attempted to vacate one of these constitutional amendments, leading to a constitutional crisis.

He was born on February 17, 1933 at Karachi, schooled at Sindh Madressa-tul-Islam and did his Matriculation in 1951. He later joined D.J. Science College, Karachi and after passing 1st Year Science Biology Group switched over to arts. After graduating in Political Science and General History from Sindh Muslim College in 1956 left for England and was admitted in Lincoln's Inn. Called to the Bar in 1959 and was an Advocate of the erstwhile High Court of West Pakistan in January 1961. Appointed as District Public Prosecutor and Government Pleader, Lasbella, with Headquarters at Karachi in 1963 and was allowed private practice at Karachi.

Appointed as Additional District & Sessions Judge against a vacancy reserved for members of the Bar in 1967. Served as District and Sessions Judge in various Districts in the Punjab during one Unit period and after its disintegration, in Sindh. Appointed as Joint Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs January 1974. Posted as Registrar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1977.

Elevated as Judge of High Court of Sindh in 1987. Held extra assignments as Custodian of Evacuee Properties in the Province of Sindh, Chairman, Special Court under Suppression of Terrorist Activities (Special Courts) Act, 1975; Special Appellate Court (Customs) and Chairman, Provincial Election Authority, Sindh (for elections to the local bodies), Member Syndicate, Senate and Election Board of Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Member of the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi Board of Trustees, Election Tribunal appointed by Election Commission of Pakistan in respect of General Elections held in the year 1985.Participated in a programme titled “Introduction to Computer and Technology in Courts” at National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada, USA Chief Justice, High Court of Sindh, Karachi from 1989-1990.Elevated to Judge, Supreme Court of Pakistan from 1990-1994.

When Dr. Nasim Hasan Shah retired as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1994, Justice Saad Saud Jan should have rightly taken his place. But Ms Benazir Bhutto threw tradition overboard when she by-passed two senior judges and appointed Sajjad Ali Shah as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Later she was dismissed by President Farooq Leghari on charges of corruption and Sajjad Ali Shah along with 6 other members of the Supreme Court upheld this decision.