Islamabad, Nov 18: Pakistan"s Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar has scaled down the 10-member Supreme Court bench to seven judges that would now hear the petitions against the imposition of emergency and the PCO, after three judges refused to hear the cases.
Justice Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi, Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar and Justice M Javed Buttar had announced during the proceedings on Friday that they would inform the Chief Justice Dogar about their decision whether or not they would sit on the bench.
The government was upset over the reaction of these judges, who had stated that they wanted to opt out of the bench, a worried senior law officer said.
Justice Khokhar had said that one of the grounds of proclamation of emergency was the failure of the judiciary and since he was a part of decisions criticised by the government, consequently, he should not sit on the bench.
Justice Abbasi had stated that two grounds told for the proclamation of emergency – one was terrorism and the other was interference of judiciary in the powers of the executive. He said it was a serious matter and if Justice Khokhar would not sit on the bench, how he and Justice Buttar could.
The law officer said that no judge could be forced against his will to sit on a bench if he decided not to be part of it, The News reported.
Even if objections are raised to the inclusion of a judge in a panel, it is for him to decide and the Chief Justice or anybody else can't force him out, he added.
But the officer pointed out that all these honourable judges had taken oath under the PCO, which contained the grounds to which they objected after hearing the petitions for three days.
After the three judges finally opted out of the bench, it became extinct, and the Chief Justice re-constituted the seven-justice panel to hear the important petitions.