ISLAMABAD - The two senior most judges of the Sindh High Court (SHC) - Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Amir Hani Muslim - took oath as the judges of the Supreme Court on Monday, raising the strength of the apex court to 18, excluding Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
They were administered the oath by the CJP at the Supreme Court in a ceremony which was attended by the Supreme Court judges, chief justice Islamabad High Court, Attorney General for Pakistan, federal secretary Law, president Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and representatives of various other bars, prominent lawyers and the officers of Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan.
With inclusion of these judges, the total number of SC judges has reached 18, including two adhoc judges - Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, against the sanctioned strength of 17 permanent judges including the CJP. The one-year tenure of Justice Ramday as ad-hoc judge is expiring on Feb 17.
It pertinent to recall that Justice Sayed Zahid Hussain, an incumbent judge of the apex court, is facing contempt proceedings for taking oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) in defiance of Supreme Court's restraining order of Nov 3, 2007; therefore, he is not performing the judicial functions.
The apex court would now be in a position to take up pleas against the 18th Amendment and the review petitions against the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) judgment. Earlier, on October 22 last year, a 17-member bench had referred back the matter of appointing the judges in the superior judiciary under the 18th Amendment to the Parliament and adjourned the case until first week of January 2011.
Similarly, a 17-member SC bench headed by the CJP had issued judgment on the NRO on December 16, 2009.