ISLAMABAD, Feb 15: The Supreme Court office has decided to place over a dozen cases for hearing afresh, as a bench headed by former chief justice after reserving the judgements has retired without announcing them, causing great difficulties for the litigant parties.

Sources said that at least one dozen cases whose hearing had been completed had been relisted for rehearing as the judgements were not written. In one case, civil appeal No. 1356/96, titled as Bolan Beverages (Pvt) Limited versus Pepsico Inc, the judgement was written and it was submitted to the chief justice for his signatures 18 months prior to his retirement.

The then chief justice, however, kept the file with him till the time he left the court. The Supreme Court office has at present decided to fix the case for fresh hearing.

Justice Sardar Raza Khan, who authored the judgement, has reportedly written on the file that he had, after writing the judgement, submitted it to the then chief justice, Sheikh Riaz Ahmad, for "perusal, opinion if any, and if approved for signature" on July 23, 2002.

Justice Ahmad left the Supreme Court on Jan 1, 2004 after the decision to offer a three-year extension to the judges of the superior judiciary was withdrawn.

Two prominent counsels were representing the parties to the beverages case. Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada represented Bolan Beverages (Pvt) Limited and Pepsico Inc was represented by Barrister Khalid Anwar. Stay order granted in 1999 in the case was to the day continuing.

In another case regarding a ban on holding of Walima reception, a bench headed by the retired chief justice had declared it in the open court that the restriction was illegal, but never wrote the judgement for two years.

The former chief justice, however, presided over a meeting of Pakistan Law Commission which recommended to the government to make fresh legislation for restricting meals in marriage parties.

The same bench headed by the former chief justice had reserved its judgement on the petition of seven retired high court judges who were not given pension because they had not completed five-year service before they reached the retirement age on April 28, 2003.

The joint petition filed by Justice Aqil Mirza (retired), Justice Abdul Hafeez Cheema (retired), Syed Sharif Hussain Bukhari (retired), Justice Ghulam Sarwar (retired), Justice Rao Iqbal Ahmad Khan (retired), Justice Azam Khan (retired) of the Peshawar High Court was heard for many days before the hearing was concluded. The judgement was never annouced. The SC office has decided to fix it before another bench for fresh hearing.

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