High Court: Normal practice for judges on leave to preside over sentencing hearings

High Court. (File Photo/Sun/Ihthisham Mohamed)

It is normal practice for High Court judges to preside over important hearings and issue verdicts despite being on leave, says the court.

High Court’s statement follows a complaint filed with Judicial Service Commission (JSC) over the Chief Judge of High Court, Shujau Usman having issued the ruling to annul former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor’s prison sentences despite being on leave at the time.

The High Court, in its statement this Thursday, said that every judge was required to dedicate all his time towards his responsibilities.

It said that the council of judges of High Court, on June 30, 2011, passed a motion that a judge may partake in a sentencing hearing if the judge circumstances allow him to attend the hearing despite being on leave in sentencing hearings, hearings which require a bench of judges, and hearings during which a ruling cannot be issued unless the judge in question is present.

“High Court judges have been presiding over hearings as per this motion from the time this motion was passed up until today,” wrote the court in its statement.

The court has expressed concern over the public being misled by some of the media reports published regarding the issue.