KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday annulled the appointment of Barrister Murtaza Wahab as the Chief Minster's adviser on law, observing that executive powers which the elected representatives can exercise cannot be given to the advisers.

The division bench headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah announced its verdict that was reserved earlier and declared the appointment of Wahab as the adviser to the Sindh CM as void and of no legal effect. The court also declared the appointment of Murtaza Wahab as the chairman of the Board of Governors of Law Colleges in Karachi as without merit, illegal and void.

The judgment came on a petition of Advocate Fareed Ahmed Dayo, who challenged Wahab's appointment and his ministerial status given to him.

According to the 27-page long judgment, there are terms and conditions provided in the constitution for the advisers to be appointed by the prime ministers, however, there are no such rules provided for the appointment of advisers to the chief minister.

The judgment said that the day Murtaza Wahab was appointed he was simultaneously given the executive authority of the minister of law and other departments, which meant that he in fact was never appointed as an adviser. Therefore his appointment was not of an adviser; rather the constitutional frame work was skewed to pass on the executive authority held by the CM.

“His appointment as the adviser on law being devoid of purpose and intent as envisaged by the constitution and as well as being superfluous on the ground that the advocate general is the person competent for the job, we declare the appointment void and of no legal effect,” the judgment read.

Responding to the Wahab lawyer's contention that the constitution is absolutely silent as to the criteria or qualification for the appointment of advisers to the extent that a milkman can be appointed as an adviser, the court said the apex court had laid down the principle that the CM, under his constitutional dispensation, is neither a King nor a Monarch, but is in the domain of trust and obliged to obey the constitution and law like another ordinary citizen.

The judges observed that whenever a person is appointed (who is not a public representative) and his remuneration and allied expenses are paid from the public exchequer, it becomes very important that the authority which is handpicking the individual has to ensure that his or her selection fits every bit of the purposes and intents.