LAHORE - Four deposed judges of the Lahore High Court Saturday took fresh oath of their offices after the federal law ministry issued notification of their reappointment. They were administered oath in a simple but graceful ceremony by LHC Chief Justice Syed Zahid Hussain at LHC's common room. The judges, who took fresh oath, include Mian Saqib Nisar, Asif Saeed Khosa, Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Umar Ata Bandial. The fifth judge who was expected to swear-in was Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry but at a late night development he refused to take oath on the plea that he was still a constitutional judge and the government had itself admitted this fact by releasing their seven-month salaries. According to the notification issued on August 30, the reappointment of these judges has been made under Article 193 of the Constitution. The Article says the President would appoint judges of the high courts after having consultation with chief justice of Pakistan (Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar in this case), governor concerned and with Chief Justice of High Court (Justice Sayed Zahid Hussain in present case). The notification further says the reappointed judges would retain their original seniority as it stood on November 2, 2007 and would also be entitled to pensionary benefits on the basis of their original appointment as judges of LHC in accordance with the Constitution and law. This clause was included in the notification because the deposed judges were reluctant to take fresh oath on the plea that they seniority could be disturbed. All the four reappointed judges have the service tenure of seven to nine years to their credit. Justice Nisar was appointed on May 21,1998 and he will retire after seven years on January 16,2016. Justice Khosa elevated to LHC on same date (May21,1998) while he will step down on December, 2016. Justice Saeed and Justice Bandial both were appointed on December 1, 2004 and they will retire on August 27, 2016 and September 16,2020. High court judge retires at the age of 62 under Article 195 of the Constitution. Surprisingly, through another notification the federal law secretary has also increased the number of judges of the Lahore High Court from 50 to 60 despite the fact LHC had never experienced its full strength of 50 over the years. Article 192 of the Constitution says that the number of judges could be determined by a presidential order or through a piece of legislation. With the re-appointment of four judges the strength of LHC judges has been raised to 37, still 23 short of its new sanctioned strength. The LHC existing judges, federal law secretary Agha Rafiq Ahmad Khan, law officers, lawyer affiliated with the Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Bar Council member Kazim Khan attended the oath-taking ceremony. Surprisingly, the PML-N recently appointee Advocate General of Punjab Khawaja Haris was also present in the ceremony whereas none of the office-bearers of the LHCBA attended it. Stringent security arrangements were made on this occasion and no unknown person was allowed to enter in the ceremony hall. It is pertinent to mention here that 21 out of 31 total judges had taken oath under November 3, 2007 PCO. The remaining 10 judges did not take oath but finally four of them fell prey to temptation. Justice Jhangir Arshad, a deposed judge, retired this month on August 17 on attaining the superannuation. Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif, Justice Sair Ali, Justice MA Shahid Siddiqui and Justice Iqbal Hameed ur Rehman are the remaining deposed judges of LHC.