‘Full Court’ reference to honour Justice Jafferi on Monday


ISLAMABAD: A ‘Full Court’ reference will be held at Supreme Court on Monday to honour Justice Rahmat Hussain Jafferi, a Supreme Court judge who retired on November 20 after reaching 65-years, an SC spokesman told Pakistan Today.
“The chief justice of Pakistan has not yet nominated any judge of the high court to replace Justice Jafferi in SC,” he said, adding that most probably the outgoing judge will be replaced with a judge from the Lahore High Court according to the tradition.
The reference will be attended by the Supreme Court judges, Attorney General and prominent lawyers. Justice Jafferi rose to prominence in 2000 when he, as a judge of an Anti Terrorism court in Karachi, handed down two life terms to former Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in the ‘plane hijacking conspiracy case.’ The sentence was also upheld by the Sindh High Court.
However, on July 17, 2009, the Supreme Court had set aside the sentence and conviction and acquitted Sharif. Justice Jafferi was elevated to the Sindh High Court as an ad hoc judge on August 27, 2002 and was confirmed on August 27, 2003. He was promoted to the Supreme Court on September 7, 2009.
Many judges and chief justice of the Supreme Court have not been honoured with the ‘full court reference’ because of reasons which include validation of unconstitutional measures by various governments. Nine of the total 19 chief justices of Pakistan (CJP) – including Abdul Hameed Dogar – left office unceremoniously on the completion of their tenure.
Traditionally, a ‘full court reference’ – a gathering of all judges of the Supreme Court – is held on the retirement of every judge of the court to honour the outgoing arbitrator. Papers are read out by a senior judge of the SC, the attorney general, the Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman and the Supreme Court Bar Association president highlighting the ‘historic verdicts’ delivered by the outgoing judge.
Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar – who took oath under former president Pervez Musharraf in November 2007 after the imposition of an emergency in the country – retired on March 21, 2009 and was not given a farewell in line with judicial traditions.
Justice Sheikh Riaz Ahmad – who held the office of CJP from February 1, 2002, to December 31, 2003 – also went without a ‘full court reference’, possibly because he validated the controversial ‘referendum’ that gave a five-year term to Musharraf as president and accepted a three-year increase in the retirement age of judges of the SC and high courts, a decision that was later withdrawn.
Justice Bashir Jehangiri – who held office of CJP from January 7, 2002, to January 31, 2002 – also did not get a full court reference. Similarly, no reference was held to honour Justice Irshad Hasan Khan – who remained the chief justice of Pakistan from January 26, 2000, to January 6, 2002 – possibly because he validated the October 12, 1999, military takeover on the basis of the doctrine of necessity. He also gave Musharraf the authority to amend the constitution.