IHC divi­sion bench sets aside sin­gle bench de­ci­sion, ad­mits govt’s ap­peal

No bul­let-proof car for Jus­tice Iftikhar

Pakistan Observer - - TWIN CITIES -

ZUBAIR QURESHI ISLAMABAD—The High Court (IHC) has set aside a sin­gle­mem­ber bench de­ci­sion for pro­vid­ing bul­let­proof ve­hi­cle to for­mer Chief Jus­tice Iftikhar Muham­mad Chaudhry. IHC divi­sion com­pris­ing Jus­tice Noorul Haq N Qureshi and Jus­tice Athar Min­ul­lah on Wed­nes­day gave the judg­ment in an in­tra-court ap­peal filed by the fed­eral govern­ment against the sin­gle bench di­rec­tion. The judg­ment was ear­lier re­served, on an in­tra­court ap­peal of the fed­er­a­tion.

The court while nul­li­fy­ing de­ci­sion re­ferred the case to sin­gle bench to take it up again. The IHC re­served judg­ment in the case af­ter hear­ing ar­gu­ments of par­ties con­cerned on March 7. The fed­eral govern­ment had taken plea that the prime min­is­ter had ac­corded ap­proval for pro­vid­ing Chaudhry a bul­let-proof ve­hi­cle for three months. All the ex­penses in­clud­ing fuel were to be in­curred by the fed­eral govern­ment. The coun­sel for fed­eral govern­ment had said that for­mer CJP would make his se­cu­rity ar­range­ment dur­ing the pe­riod, but the sin­gle-bench had is­sued or­ders for pro­vid­ing him ve­hi­cle for an in­def­i­nite pe­riod. The fed­er­a­tion had chal­lenged the sin­gle court de­ci­sion and filed an in­tra-ap­peal. IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Sid­diqui had is­sued or­ders on Jan­uary 3, 2014 for pro­vid­ing a bul­let-proof ve­hi­cle to the for­mer CJP.

Ear­lier, an­other judge of the IHC Jus­tice Athar Mi­nal­lah had re­cused him­self from the case thus fail­ing the govern­ment’s bid to take back the bul­let­proof Mercedes car from for­mer Chief Jus­tice of Pak­istan. Jus­tice Athar Mi­nal­lah had main­tained that since he had been a spokesman for Jus­tice Chaudhry dur­ing the move­ment for the restora­tion of ju­di­ciary in 2007, he could not hear the ap­peal filed by the fed­eral govern­ment.

The other mem­ber of the bench, Jus­tice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi, then re­ferred the mat­ter to the IHC chief jus­tice for con­sti­tut­ing a spe­cial bench for its hear­ing.

It may be men­tioned that af­ter re­tire­ment, Jus­tice Chaudhry had sur­ren­dered the car, which was then pro­vided to his suc­ces­sor Jus­tice Tas­saduq Hus­sain Jil­lani, how­ever, Cabi­net Divi­sion on De­cem­ber 18, 2013 pro­vided a 1991 Mercedes Benz to Jus­tice Chaudhry. But this ve­hi­cle was re­turned the same day, as ac­cord­ing to a let­ter sent to the Cabi­net Divi­sion by the SC reg­is­trar of­fice.

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