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

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No bullet-proof car for Justice Iftikhar

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The High Court (IHC) has set aside a single-member 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 intra-court 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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