Supreme Court bench declares Nov 2007 emergency unconstitutional

* 14-member Supreme Court bench declares Nov 2007 emergency unconstitutional
* Says office of chief justice did not fall vacant on November 3, 2007

The Supreme Court delivered a landmark verdict on Friday as a 14-member larger bench unanimously declared “unconstitutional” the November 3, 2007 emergency, and said the “unconstitutional appointment” of Justice Dogar as chief justice would not affect the validity of any administrative or financial acts performed by him or of any oath administered by him.

According to a 14-page short order read out by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, 'Pervez Musharraf, under the garb of the emergency and the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO), made amendments in the constitution for ... powers which are all unconstitutional, unauthorised, without any legal basis ... without any legal consequences.'" (Source.)

People are in Pakistan are saying that this verdict by Supreme Court may actually change the course of flow of its constitutional and judicial history. Here's the text of this verdict issued by SC of Pakistan.

Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, CJ.

The above Constitutional Petitions bearing Nos. 9 of 2009 and 8 of 2009 involve common questions of facts and law and are disposed of by this single judgment.

2. In the first mentioned petition, the petitioner while referring to several provisions of Constitution and the case law, beside making other contentions, legal and factual, has stated, in para No.5, that:
“The removal of Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts on 3.11.2007 was not only violative of Article 209 of the Constitution, 1973 but was against the rule laid down by the bench of twelve (12) Judges of Supreme Court in the case of Syed Zafar Ali Shah (PLD 2000 SC 869). The subsequent validation in the case of Tika Iqbal Khan (PLD 2008 SC 178) a smaller bench of the Supreme Court is per-incuriam and in any event, is not by a Supreme Court that is de jure. It is respectfully submitted, that Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar could not be treated as Constitutional head of the Supreme Court even after the decision in the case of Tika Iqbal Khan (supra) as he himself was the real beneficiary of the said Judgement and contrary to one of the cardinal principles of natural justice, “no person should be judge in his own cause” had headed the bench. Hence, in view of the facts and reasons stated above Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is still the Chief Justice of Pakistan as per Constitution and all appointments and re-appointments made in the Supreme Court and High Courts without consultation of de jure Chief justice of Pakistan are unlawful, illegal, ultra-vires of the Constitution as well as malafide”.

3. Having made above averments, the petitioner has, inter-alia, sought a declaration to the effect that the respondents Nos 3 and 4 namely Justice Zaffar Ahmad Khan Sherwani and Justice Abdul Rashid Kalwar are and continue to be Judges of High Court of Sindh and that they would continue as Additional Judges till 25.8.2010 and that their term of appointment has not expired as opined by Mr. Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, as then he was called. During the course of his submissions, learned counsel appearing for him prayed further that following declarations be also granted:
i) that the purported acts done by General Pervez Musharraf, (Rtd) between 3.11.2007 to 16.12.2007 aimed at to suspend and amend the Constitution through several instruments are unconstitutional, invalid and without any legal consequence;
ii) that on account of his acts taken during 3.11.2007 to 15.12.2007 relating to superior judiciary, General Pervez Musharraf (Rtd) became a usurper;
iii) all the appointments of judges of superior judiciary on or after 3.11.2007 up till 22.3.2008 which were without consultation of de-jure Chief Justice of Pakistan are/were unconstitutional, invalid and without any legal consequence;
iv) that the two (so called) judgements dated 23.11.2007 and 15.2.2008 on Constitutional Petitions No. 87 and 88 of 2007 filed by Tika Iqbal Muhammad and WATAN Party and the Review Petition No.7 of 2008 filed by the former are/were nullity in law, being decisions per incuriam, corum-non-judice, without any legal basis and based on malafide proceedings rendered by biased persons of Tribunal (then calling themselves as Judges of this Court) fraudulently, collusively and lacking in bona-fides;

4. In the other petition No. 8 of 2009 which has been filed by Nadeem Ahmad, a practicing Advocate, while criticising the judgement delivered in case of Tikka Iqbal Muhammad Khan versus Federation of Pakistan (PLD 2008 SC 178), the petitioner has, inter-alia, averred as follows:
“All the persons who were not judges on 3rd November 2007 but who were brought into Supreme Court and High Courts as ‘judges’ despite the fact that the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan was never consulted before their appointment which meant that they were never appointed under the Constitution.”
“On the night of 22 March 2009, issuance of cause lists comprising persons who have not been appointed in strict adherence to Article 177 and who are therefore complete strangers to the Supreme Court, is a serious matter and it is incumbent on the Honourable Chief Justice, before proceeding with any other judicial work, to forthwith stop all these persons from hearing any cases till such time that he, along with other validly appointed judges, are able to look into and judicially determine validity of their appointments as judges.”

5. The petitioner has, among others, sought a declaration that all those persons, both in Supreme Court and High Courts, regardless of whether they have taken oath under PCO or the Constitution, who have been appointed without ‘consultation’ of Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan as not judges and therefore, not entitled to function as such.

6. On 22.7.2009 a notice was issued to General Pervez Musharraf (r) on his available address intimating him about the proceedings in this case and 29.7.2009 as the date fixed therein before this court. The Process Serving Officer reported on the same day that he had gone to the residential place viz: C-1, B Park Road, Chak Shahzad, Islamabad where a person identifying himself as Muhammad Hussain son of Amir and that on formers offer the latter refused to receive the notice. The factum of issuance of the afore-referred notice was widely televised through National and International TV channels. Also, it was widely published in National and International print media, but, on the date so fixed no one entered appearance.

7. We have heard learned counsel for petitioners and learned Attorney General for Pakistan.

8. Before dilating upon the pleas taken in the arguments by learned counsel for the parties, in our view, some of the facts/events which took place before 3rd November, 2007 touching the very basis of the issues involved in the matter are brought on record.

9. In our country, during sixty years of its independence after partition, to the misfortune of people, several times, the Constitutions framed by Legislative Bodies were desecrated. Sovereignty of people was not allowed to flourish and get deep-rooted in the polity of our country. Prior to 3rd November, 2007, the Constitutions were either abrogated or put in abeyance and the democratic system of governance was put to an end. For the first time, Constitution of 1956 was abrogated on 7th October, 1958 and Martial Law was imposed by the then president, Sikandar Mirza who dismissed the Central and Provincial Governments; dissolved the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies and abolished all Political Parties and appointed General Muhammad Ayub Khan, the then Commander in Chief as Martial Law Administrator. Sikandar Mirza was soon, within few days, replaced by the latter. On 25th March, 1969, again the then head of Army, General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, abrogated the Constitution of 1962 and by proclamation (PLD 1969 Central Statutes 42) Promulgated Martial Law followed by Provisional Constitution Order (Gazette of Pakistan, Extraordinary 4th April, 1969). On 5th July, 1977 once again Martial Law was imposed throughout the country by the then head of Army Chief vis former General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who, vide Proclamation of Martial Law (PLD 1969 Federal Statutes 326) dissolved the National Assembly, the Senate, the Provincial Assemblies etc. and put the Constitution of 1973 in abeyance followed by Laws (Continuance in Force) Order, 1977. When the Constitution was revived, it was undeniably, in a mutilated form by the notorious Eighth Amendment.

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