By A.R. Yusuf
Our memories are short but not that short particularly with respect to Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry:
Oath on PCO 1999
1. In January 2000, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, then a serving judge on the Balochistan High Court (BHC), was one of the first judges to take the oath on the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) of the military dictator General Musharraf in violation of Pakistan’s constitution. This allowed him to be elevated to the Supreme Court to fill one of the vacancies left by the 11 judges who had resigned in protest at taking this oath.
Validation of the military coup
2. On May 13, 2000, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was one of the 12 Supreme Court judges who validated the military coup of Gen Pervez Musharraf. They ruled that the removal of the elected government of Nawaz Sharif was legal on the basis of the ‘doctrine of necessity’.
Forced resignation of President Tarar
3. In June 2001, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was one of two judges who visited the President House to convince the then President Rafiq Tarrar to resign, and make way for Gen Pervez Musharraf to assume that office.
Validation of Musharraf Military Rule
4. On April 13, 2005 in the ‘Judgment on 17th Amendment and President’s Uniform Case’, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was one of five Supreme Court judges who dismissed all petitions challenging President Musharraf’s constitutional amendments.
In a wide ranging judgment they declared that the Legal Framework Order (LFO) instituted by General Musharraf after his suspension of the Constitution, the 17th Amendment which gave this constitutional backing, and the two offices bill which allowed Musharraf to retain his military uniform whilst being President were all legal.
Further brilliant achievements
Nepotism: Son’s Admission In FIA
Ansar Abbasi brought forth allegations against Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhray for gross misconduct in 2002, accusing him for admitting his Son Dr. Arsalan to FIA undermining all merits. For details, see this post on ATP
Selective judgement on PCO judges
Constitution Petition Regarding PCO Judges:
The decision of the court in CONSTITUTION PETITION NO. 08 and 09 OF 2009 from 14 member bench headed by Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, summarily removed all justices of higher judiciary who were not part of it as on November 2, 2007. There removal was so ordered on ground that advice of de-jure Chief Justice of Supreme Pakistan was not obtained in these cases. In the same decision the court had held the de-jure Chief Justice between the period of November 3, 2007 and March 22, 2009 was Justice Chaudhry.
There were three groups of these removed justices.
Those who were elevated to higher courts and initially took oath on PCO.
Those who were elevated to higher courts after restoration of constitution, and were appointed by General Pervez Musharraf.
Those who were elevated to higher courts after restoration of constitution, and were appointed by Asif Ali Zardari.
This decision have resulted in situation where:
Newly appointed justices who never took any sort of oath on any PCO have been removed.
Sitting justices who took oath on PCO 2007 are still acting as justices, though their cases are to be sent to Supreme Judicial Council.
Sitting justices who accepted reappointed and took oath from Justice Dogar as still acting as justices of court with no action.
Justices who took oath on PCO of 1999 are still functioning as justices of higher judiciary.