A new 10-member Pakistan Supreme Court bench will resume on Monday, after a 16-day break, the hearing on a clutch of petitions questioning President Pervez Musharraf's eligibility to run for a second term -- but doubts are already being cast on the legality of the hearing.
The bench will take up the case at 11.30 a.m. after a seven-member bench ends its hearing of petitions against the Nov 3 proclamation of emergency.
"According to legal experts, it is against judicial norms that a smaller bench hears a case which was earlier being heard by a larger bench," the Dawn said Sunday.
Before the emergency, an 11-member bench was hearing the petitions. During the last hearing on Nov 2, the visibly disturbed bench had expressed displeasure over a perception that the court was responsible for political uncertainty in the country at the time.
Attorney General Malik Mohammad Qayyum Khan had, however, stated that there was no possibility of a martial law or extra-constitutional measures.
The emergency was declared the next day and the judges were asked to take a fresh oath under the new Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO).
They refused, and all 19 judges, including chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, were sacked.
The Supreme Court had declined to stay the Oct 6 presidential election but had barred the Election Commission from notifying the verdict till it decided on the petitions against Musharraf.
With the opposition boycotting the presidential elections, Musharraf had won hands down.
Headed by Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, the 10-member bench comprises judges Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi, Faqir Mohammad Khokhar, M. Javed Buttar, Ijazul Hassan, Mohammad Qaim Jan Khan, Mosa K. Leghari, Chaudhry Ijaz Yousaf, Mohammad Akhtar Shabbir and Zia Pervez.
It was not immediately clear when a verdict is likely.