SC slaps gag order on PCO judges

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ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Friday restrained the dysfunctional PCO judges from passing any order against members of the bench hearing contempt cases against them or any other judge of the Supreme Court.
A seven-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing intra-court appeals by two PCO judges of the Lahore High Court – Justice Shabbar Raza Rizvi and Justice Hasnat Ahmed Khan, requesting the court to overturn its February 2 decision of charging them with contempt for taking oath under the PCO in defiance of the November 3, 2007, restraining order.
The court in its short order said, “We are constrained to pass order that all the six judges, Shabbar Raza Rizvi, Hasnat Ahmed Khan, Hamid Ali Shah and Sajjad Hussain Shah of the Lahore High Court, Justice Yasmeen Abbasey of the Sindh High Court, Justice Jehanzeb Rahim of the Peshawar High Court and Justice Zahid Hussain of the Supreme Court shall not pass any such order against the members of the bench or the judges of the Supreme Court, and if any such order is passed by them, the same shall have no legal or binding effect upon this court as well as any other functionaries and shall be deemed to be an order, which is not in existence at all.”
The court noted that the persons whose cases were pending before the four-member bench of the Supreme Court, instead of obeying its orders, had started making attempts to undermine the authority of the SC judges, particularly the members of the bench hearing cases against them. It said according to a note put up by the SC registrar, Justice Jehanzeb Rahim, a dysfunctional judge of the Peshawar High Court, issued notices to all of them hearing contempt matter against him to appear before him.
In his arguments, Dr Basit, lawyer for Justice Shabbar Raza Rizvi and Justice Hasnat Ahmed Khan, said the Supreme Court’s February 2 decision of framing contempt charge on PCO judges on February 21 did not mention grounds and reasons, thus the hearing on intra-court appeals deserved to be delayed until detailed verdict of February 2 short order.