Hearing of appeal by PM: 3 judges refuse to sit in larger bench
02 May, 2012
QUETTA: The chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, said on Tuesday that three out of the nine judges of a larger Supreme Court bench that is to take up an expected appeal of the prime minister in the contempt case have refused to be part of the bench.
The chief justice said the apex court will appoint an additional judge and two ad hoc judges in order to overcome the shortfall, saying a bench comprising nine judges will hold the hearing if the prime minister goes for an appeal against his conviction. He was addressing lawyers after inaugurating the Circuit Bench of the Balochistan High Court in Sibi. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Tariq Pervaiz, Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Balochistan Bar Council President Zahoor Ahmed Shahwani and other lawyers were present on the occasion.
Justice Iftikhar said he did not want to disclose the names of the three judges who had expressed inability to hear the appeal. He stressed that institutions should function within their jurisdiction. The chief justice said people of Sibi, Nasirabad, Jafarabad, Dera Bugti, Bolan, Kohlu and Jhal Magsi would get justice at their doorsteps after the formation of the Sibi Circuit Bench. He said judiciary was making its utmost efforts to serve justice to the people of Balochistan.
Referring to the newly built building of the Circuit Bench, the chief justice said justice would not be served by constructing air-conditioned buildings, thus judges should ensure their presence in Sibi and serve the people. He said bench and bar are hands of judicial system. "I have always emphasised on better relation between bench and bar because an independent bar can set up an independent judicial system," he noted.
Meanwhile, the federal government has decided to adhere to the stance of bar councils regarding the appointment of two ad hoc judges in the Supreme Court for the hearing of expected appeal by the prime minister against his conviction.
Talking to our sources, Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Political Affairs Fawad Chaudhry said that the government would respect the bar councils' point of view regarding the appointment of ad hoc judges in the apex court, saying the bar councils had already passed three resolutions against such appointments.
He asked why the Judicial Council of Pakistan was not elevating senior-most judges to the apex court. Objecting to the nomination of two retired judges for ad hoc appointments, Fawad said both are "biased", therefore the Pakistan People's Party has serious reservations about their reappointments. He said Article 182 of the constitution empowers the president to approve the ad hoc judges' appointments, and he would not appoint "biased" judges.
Fawad contended that the process regarding the appointment of new judges would not be completed in the next three months; therefore the chief justice of Pakistan, using his suo motu power, should suspend the conviction against the prime minister until the decision on his (the PM's) expected appeal against the court's April 25 order.
Reacting to the chief justice's speech in Sibi, he said the address proved that Yousaf Raza Gilani was a legal prime minister.