ISLAMABAD, July 13: The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the Constitution did not bar a non-Muslim judge from becoming the country’s chief justice. The ruling was made after a petition filed by Shahid Orakzai, challenging the appointment of Justice Rana Bhagwandas as acting Chief Justice of Pakistan for being a non-Muslim, was rejected.

A three-member bench, comprising Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, Justice Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi and Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmad, also dismissed a petition filed by Moulvi Iqbal Haider who defended the appointment of a non-Muslim as chief justice or acting chief justice. The court termed the petition infructuous.

Deputy Attorney-General Tariq Khokhar said that there was no constitutional provision that barred a non-Muslim judge from being elevated to the post of the CJ.

During the hearing, the bench called the police to send Shahid Orakzai out of the court when he insisted to address the court and speak in favour of his petition.