Pakistan's Acting Chief Justice Rana Bhagwandas, heading a judicial council that is going into charges against the suspended chief justice, is confident that the country's interests would be kept in the trial, which will be free from political pressure.
In his first media interview after he took over as ACJ on March 24, Justice Bhagwandas, the first Hindu to assume the top post, said a decision on charges of misuse of office and misconduct against Iftikhar Chaudhry would be purely on merit and without any fear.
"We will take the decision in favour of the country and I believe Allah will help us in this regard," he told the BBC.
Justice Bhagwandas also said he does not expect President Pervez Musharraf to pressurise the five-judge Supreme Judicial Council to deliver a favourable verdict.
The court would not accept any pressure from political parties and lawyers, he said.
The trial by the SJC would resume on April 3. On the objections raised by hardline politicians, including Jamaat-i-Islami leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed and some Islamic groups to his appointment to the post, Justice Bhagwandas said the Constitution does not bar a non-Muslim from heading the Supreme Court.
In the past, he said, Justice Cornelius, a Christian, headed the apex court between 1960 and 1968.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said the reference against Justice Chaudhry was filed before the SJC after meeting all the Constitutional requirements.
Talking to a delegation from the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Monday, he said the government will stand by the verdict of the SJC.