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SC benches divided between PCO, non-PCO judges

March 25, 2009

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The cause list issued by Chief Justice gives an impression that judges of the apex court have been divided.

ISLAMABAD The cause list issued by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry for the week which commenced on Tuesday gives an impression that judges of the apex court have been divided between PCO and non-PCO judges because no bench has members from both groups.

It may be just a coincidence, but a careful reading of the list shows that no judge who took oath under the Provisional Constitution Order after the proclamation of November 3, 2007, emergency has been included in benches comprising judges restored recently, a senior lawyer who was in the forefront of the lawyer`s movement said on condition of anonymity.

Soon after assuming the charge, the chief justice constituted 10 benches for judicial work in the capital as well as in the Supreme Court registries in Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.

In the capital, the first four benches consist of judges who have either been restored as a result of the long march or by the PPP-led coalition government.

The first bench headed by the chief justice comprises Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan and Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk. The Bench-2 consists of Justice Javed Iqbal and Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed, the Bench-3 of Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan and Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed and the Bench-4 of Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday and Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany.

The benches from Bench-5 consist of judges who were appointed during the emergency period or soon after the lifting of the emergency, like the five-member Shariat Appellate Bench which comprises Justice M. Javed Buttar, Justice Zia Perwez, Justice Mohammad Farrukh Mahmud, Justice Dr Allama Khalid Mahmud and Justice Dr Rashid Ahmed Jullundhari. 

The Bench-6 is manned by Justice Mohammad Moosa K. Leghari and Justice Sheikh Hakim Ali who delivered the judgment disqualifying the Sharif brothers.

The single-judge benches in Lahore comprise judges who took oath after the proclamation of emergency, namely Justice Mian Hamid Farooq and Justice Syed Zawar Hussain Jaffery, while the two benches in Peshawar consist of Justice Chaudhry Ejaz Yousaf and Justice Sardar Mohammad Aslam and Justice Mohammad Akhtar Shabbir and Justice Syed Sakhi Hussain Bukhari. 

The one in Quetta consists of Justice Qaim Jan and Justice Ejazul Hassan. While deciding the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, Justice Sheikh Hakim Ali had observed in his detailed judgment that all the judges sitting in this court were equal, respectable and revered and brother judges, amongst whom no distinction and discrimination of belonging to one or the other group should be allowed and permitted by any of the judges of this court to be made and raised at this stage and thereafter.

Meanwhile, presiding over a bench, the chief justice expressed dismay over the flouting by Punjab government the Supreme Court directive of reinstating ad hoc lecturers removed from the services in 2001. `For how long one would continue to play with the lives of people,` the chief justice observed.

A three-member bench comprising the chief justice, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan and Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk had taken up the appeal of the Punjab government against the order of the Lahore High Court. The chief justice ordered the assistant advocate general of Punjab to seek instruction from the government to withdraw its petitions on Wednesday or get ready for a heavy penalty.

Instead of regularising, the Punjab government had removed 97 lecturers form service although they had put in about 14 years on ad hoc basis. In 2002, the apex court had directed the provincial government to regularise all sacked lecturers. But orders of the court were not complied with.