SC seeks govt’s stance over status of PCO-Judges

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday directed the Attorney General to submit a written statement on behalf of the government regarding constitutional status of a number of former judges of superior judiciary who violated a restraining order of November 3, 2007 issued against unconstitutional steps.

A seven-member special bench comprising the Chief Justice, Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmani and Justice Amir Hani Muslim, resumed hearing of the contempt of court issue and adjourned hearing till April 4 on request of Attorney General Molvi Anwaul Haq.

Earlier, at the outset of proceedings, the Chief Justice to a stand taken by Kazim Raza, counsel for Justice Hamid Ali Shah, a dysfunctional judge, regarding submission of apology remarked that they had already declared the steps of November 3, 2007 including provisional constitutional ordinance as unconstitutional and illegal.

“There is no more room for adventurism or ultra constitutional steps. It was the sole case in country’s history in which the superior judiciary stood against ultra constitutional steps and did not validate it,” he added.

He said such steps in the past had resulted in martial laws but this trend must end now and there was need to put the record straight.

To Raza Kazim’s contention, he replied “Now there will be rule of law and supremacy of Constitution.”

He also told him that the legal recourse for those who breached the Constitution was provided in the Article 6 (referring to Act of high treason).

Raza Kazim told the bench that he would like to present his contentions and once he was convinced that he was wrong over his action, he would be feeling no hesitation in submitting apology.

The bench is seized with a set of appeals of dysfunctional and retired judges of superior judiciary who are facing contempt charges.

On last date of hearing, justice retired Abdul Hameed Dogar, who served as chief justice of Pakistan after taking oath under the annulled provisional constitutional order of 2007 (PCO), and justice retired Sayed Zahid Hussain, a dysfunctional judge of the apex Court, rendered their apologies which were accepted.

While on request of counsels for Justice Hamid Ali Shah, Justice Hasnat Ahmed Khan, Justice Syed Shabbar Raza, Justice retired Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, Justice Syed Sajjad Hussain Shah, Justice Yasmin Abbasey and Justice Jehan Zaib Rahim (all dysfunctional judges) time was granted for consideration of the issue.

A four-Judge bench of Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Jawwad S. Khawja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez, who had earlier decided to proceed against them under Contempt of Court Act by framing charges, had also been requested through Registrar Office to halt the process till final decision by the Special bench.

After the judgment of July 31, 2009, the PCO judges were issued contempt of court notices for not obeying the Supreme Court’s restraining orders, and taking oaths under the PCO. However, at least 45 judges tendered unconditional apologies for taking oaths, but the rest of them decided to contest the notices issued to them.