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I am still a judge, says Bhagwandas

world Updated: Nov 05, 2007 22:23 IST

Justice Rana Bhagwandas, the second senior-most judge of the Pakistani Supreme Court whose services have been terminated, Monday said he was still a judge though he was under house arrest.

Bhagwandas, the only Hindu judge to reach the high position in the apex court, told GEO television in an interview that taking oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) was unconstitutional and violation of a Supreme Court verdict.

"These illegal oaths have no locus standi," he said.

After imposing emergency and issuing the PCO Saturday, President General Pervez Musharraf also terminated services of 14 judges of the apex court, including Justice Bhagwandas.

He had headed the apex court while former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remained suspended from March 9 to July 21 this year.

Bhagwandas said his family was well in Karachi albeit they were in a government building, coming out from where was not possible. He further said that TV channels' transmission was not reaching the Judges Colony and only the state-run TV channel could be seen, which was of no interest to him.

Regarding the seven judges' decision rejecting the enforcement of emergency, he said that the court could suspend any illegal and immoral order without serving any notice, and it had passed the interim order.

He said it was wrong on the part of the government to say that the court order came after the imposition of PCO and the judges were rendered non-functional.

Bhagwandas said the judges taking oath under the new PCO could not hold courts and such an act would be infringement of the constitution. He said that confronting anyone was not the judges' job, but they would endeavour to improve the situation if and when the lockout ends.

Bhagwandas said that whatever he did, he did it considering it his duty and he did not get worried, as he had firm faith in god. He wished that the situation would improve soon and the constitution and the rule of law prevail in the country.