Chaudhry leaving an invigorated court
By Malik Asad
ISLAMABAD: After serving in the Supreme Court since Feb 4, 2000, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is spending his last working day in the apex court on Wednesday.
Justice Chaudhry was elevated as the 20th Chief Justice of Pakistan in June 2005.
Justice Chaudhry changed the face of the Supreme Court. In the past, the apex court was known as the appellate forum of the provincialhigh courts, but after the success of the movement for the restoration of judiciary led to his return to his office, the chief justice exercised the `original jurisdiction` and took suo motu notice on a number of matters of public interest.
According to the statistics, the number of human rights applications filed in the Supreme Court exceeded 250 per day.
The landmark judgments passed by Justice Chaudhry included human rights cases related to missing persons, privatisation of the Pakistan Steel Mills, declaring the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) as void ab initio and sending home about 100 judges who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) of November 2007.
During his speeches at farewell receptions, Justice Chaudhry made it clear that in order to dispel the rumours of his extension he had directed Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain on Nov 22 to write a letter to the federal government for issuing a notification for the appointment of Justice Tassadug Hussain Jillani as the next Chief Justice.
Justice Jillani will take oath of his office on Thursday.
He started legal practice at Multan district courts in 1974; enrolled as an advocate of high court in 1976 and was appointed advocate general of Punjab in 1993. He was appointed a judge of Lahore High Court on Aug 7, 1994.
Justice Jillani was elevated to the Supreme Court on July 31, 2004. As he refused to take fresh oath after the imposition of emergency on Nov 3, 2007, he was made dysfunctional.
After the restoration of democracy, he re-joined the court in September 2009.
Justice Jillani will serve as Chief Justice till July 6 next year, when he will reach the age of superannuation.