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  • Mar 25th, 2007
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The senior most judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP), Justice Rana Baghwandas, took the oath as the acting Chief Justice (ACJ) of Pakistan. The oath-taking ceremony was held at the Karachi Registry of the Supreme Court here, on Saturday morning.

The senior judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Javed Iqbal, who hitherto held the office of the acting Chief Justice of Pakistan, administered the oath. Meanwhile, Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Rana Baghwandas said that the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) will decide the matters relating the presidential reference against Justice Ifhtikhar Muhammad Chudhary according to the Constitution, without fear or favour.

"Presidential Reference shall be decided strictly according to law and the constitution, with our conscience and without any fear or favour, affection or relevance", Justice Rana Baghwandas said in a brief chat with newsmen after taking oath as the Acting Chief Justice at the Registry office of Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Calling for patience, he said, "let the SJC decide about the Presidential Reference. The lawyers' community should wait for the verdict of the council, he added. Justice Rana Bhagwanda said, "At the moment there is a limited question about Presidential Reference against Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry before SJC, which would be decided on priority basis while other matters before the Council would be taken up later".

He said that the matter before the SJC is sub judice and any comment on it should be avoided. To a question, he stated that the SJC would also hear the arguments of Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chudhary. To a query, the acting chief justice said that he was not entitled to give any verdict, single handedly, about the matter, it would be taken up by the SJC in its collective capacity.

Replying to a another question, The acting CJ said that the SJC would also decide later about other pending references before the council against other judges. He went on to add, all possible measures would be taken in accordance with the constitution and law to maintain the supremacy of judiciary.

Earlier, on arrival at oath-taking, the second senior most judge of the SCP after Justice Rana Baghwandas, Justice Javed Iqbal, said that the SJC is competent authority to decide about the Presidential Reference against Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary.

Speaking about protest demonstrations at various parts of the country by lawyers' community, he said "it was a right of everyone to stage protest but violation of law should be avoided. He further stated that there was no restriction in the constitution of Pakistan on appointing any non-Muslim as Chief Justice of the country.

He said that all actions on Presidential Reference against Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary have been in accordance with the law. Nobody is superior to the constitution and the law and the matter pertaining to the presidential reference would be taken up on its merit.

Besides the judges of the SCP and judges of the Sindh High Court, the CJ of the Federal Shariyat Court, Justice Haziqul Khairi and CJ of SHC Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed, retired jurists and a teacher of Rana Baghwandas, Professor Barrister Sameen Khan of S.M. Law College, Karachi were also present on the occasion.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2007

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