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Justice Bhagwandas appointed acting CJ of Pak
K J M Varma in Islamabad | March 22, 2007 20:55 IST
Justice Rana Bhagwandas, the only Hindu judge to have risen to Pakistan's top judiciary, was on Thursday appointed as acting chief justice, paving the way for him to head the Supreme Judicial Council, changing its composition.
The government issued a proclamation appointing him and he will be sworn in on March 24.
The appointment comes in the midst of a judicial crisis sparked by the suspension of Chief Justice Iftikar Muhammad Chaudhry by President Pervez Musharraf on March 9 and the subsequent demand by the suspended judge to appoint Das as the acting chief justice.
But his lawyer apppeared to sing a different tune on Friday.
Asked if Justice Chaudhry would accept Justice Das as ACJ, Munir A Mallik, one of the lawyers representing him, said "Our position is very clear. We will not accept any acting chief justice in the presence of Chief Justice Chaudhry."
"We accept him (Justice Bhagwandas) as the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court after Justice Chaudhry. Justice Bhagwandas can supervise all SC administrative matters. He can also preside over the Supreme Judicial Council," he said.
Justice Javed Iqbal is presently heading the SJC, which is hearing the charges against the suspended chief justice.