For detailed reasons to be recorded later, the following issues arising out of this petition are decided as under:
|1)||Maintainability of CoP#21 of 2007 filed under Art. 184(3) of the Constitution. This petition is unanimously declared to be maintainable.|
|2)||Validity of the reference issued by the President under Art. 209 of the Constitution. By a majority of ten to three (Mr. Faqir Muhammad Khokhar, J., Mr. M. Javed Buttar, J. and Syed Saeed Ashhad, J. dissenting), the said direction to reference in question dated March 9, 2007, for separate reasons to be recorded by the honourable judges so desiring, is set aside.|
|3)||Vires of Judges (Compulsory Leave) Order (President's Order No. 27 of 1970) and the consequent validity of the order dated March 15, 2007 directing that the Chief Justice of Pakistan shall be on leave. The said President's Order No. 27 of 1970 is unanimously declared as ultra-vires of the Constitution and consequently the said order of the President dated 15th March 2007 is also unanimously declared to have been passed without lawful authority.|
|4)||Validity of the order of the President dated March 9th 2007 and of the order of the same date of the Supreme Judicial Council restraining the Chief Justice of Pakistan from acting as a Judge of the Supreme Court and as Chief Justice of Pakistan. Both these orders are unanimously set aside as being illegal. However, since according to the minority view of the question of the validity of the direction of the reference in question, the said reference has been competently filed by the President. Therefore, this court should pass a restraining order under Article 184(3) read with Article 187 of the Constitution.|
|5)||Validity of the appointment of the Honourable Acting Chief Justices of Pakistan in view of the annulment of the two restraining orders and the compulsory leave order in respect to the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The appointments in question of the Honourable Acting Chief Justices of Pakistan by notification dated 9th March 2007 and the notification dated 22nd March 2007 are unanimously declared to have been made without lawful authority. However, this invalidity shall not affect the ordinary working of the Supreme Court or the discharge of any other constitutional and/or legal obligation by the Honourable Acting Chief Justices of Pakistan during the period in question and this declaration is so made by applying the de-facto doctrine.|
|6)||Accountability of the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan. It has never been anybody's case before us that the Chief Justice of Pakistan was not accountable. The same issue therefore does not require any adjudication and other legal and constitutional issues raised before us shall be answered in due course through the detailed judgements to follow.|
By majority of ten to three (Mr. Faqir Muhammad Khokhar, J., Mr. M. Javed Buttar, J. and Syed Saeed Ashhad, J. dissenting), this original Constitutional Petition No. 21 of 2007 filed by Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the Chief Justice of Pakistan is allowed as a result whereas the above mentioned direction the reference of the President dated March 9, 2007 is set aside.
As a further consequence thereof, the petitioner Chief Justice of Pakistan shall be deemed to be holding the said office and shall always be deemed to have been so holding the same.
The other connected petitions shall be listed before the appropriate benches in due course for their disposal in accordance with law.
[Signatures of judges on the 13-member bench.]