High Court rules in favour of suspended SG

January 25, 2024 6:26 am

Former Solicitor General Sharvada Sharma

Following numerous deferments in the last three years, the Suva High Court today ruled in favour of suspended Solicitor General Sharvada Sharma.

The Suva High Court today ruled that the decision taken to suspend former Solicitor General was unlawful.

The High Court judge ruled that while Sharma will not be reinstated, he will however be compensated.

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This includes loss of income, special damage, and aggravated damage of over three million dollars.

Former Solicitor General Sharma had filed legal actions against the President, Judicial Services Commission and the Attorney-General after he was terminated in November 2021.

Former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, had complained about Sharma’s performance in the Nikolau Nawaikula case following which Sharma was suspended.

This was done on the advice of the Judicial Services Commission to the President.

Sharma took the matter to court to challenge the six decisions of the Judicial Services Commission including his suspension, suspension without pay and his termination.

Sharma’s counsel Jon Apted had submitted that the President does not have the power to make decisions without the matter first being investigated and referred to an independent tribunal which was not done in Sharma’s case.

The High Court Judge in his ruling noted that proper procedure was not followed.

The Judge said that as per the constitution, a tribunal was not appointed to look into the allegations made against Sharma and therefore all decisions taken against Sharma is null and void.

The Judge also ruled considering the circumstances, Sharma’s remedies should be confined to damages including his lost income for the 51 day period of his suspension, amounting to $27,913 gross plus eight percent Fiji National Provident Fund of $2233.08, special damages for his loss of income from 10th November 2021 to the date of the hearing, 581 days at the rate of $199,773 per annum amounting to $317,994.83 from which credit must be given for the $130,373.84, he will have earned from USP i.e. net $187,620.99 per annum plus 8 percent FNPF contribution of $15,009.68.

The Judge also considered loss to Sharmas future earnings where a multiplier of 10 was used considering the circumstances that he has good prospects of employability considering his experience and qualifications and other uncertainties in 22 year time until his retirement at the age of 70.

For multiplier, his annual salary at the time of termination $221,971 per annum so future loss multiplied by 10 is $2,219,710 and 8 percent FNPF of $177,576.80, and an aggravated vindicatory damages of $150,000.

Sharma was not present at court during the ruling this afternoon.