ISLAMABAD - Dismissing the intra-court appeals of the seven PCO Judges the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that contempt of court proceedings might be initiated against them, declaring that all serving PCO judges ceased to be judges the day 18th Amendment was approved. The court also asked the federal government to notify the termination of service of those judges who took oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO), adding that the said judges will also have to return all the perks and privileges received during the last one year, as they took oath in defiance of a restraining order issued by the seven-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC) on November 3, 2007 The six-member larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, dismissed intra-court appeals (ICAs) filed by six PCO judges, Justice Yasmin Abbasi of Sindh High Court; Justice Shabbar Raza Rizvi, Justice Hasnat Ahmad Khan, Justice Hamid Ali Shah and Justice Sajjad Hussain Shah of Lahore High Court; and Justice Jahanzeb Rahim of Peshawar High Court. According to the judgment, the PCO judges had committed contempt of court by taking oath under the PCO initiated by former president Pervez Musharraf on Novermeber 3, 2007. The court said, The appellants are no more judges and there will be contempt proceedings against them under Article 204 of the constitution, if ultimately they are found to be guilty for the contempt of court by this court, adding that all the perks and privileges received by the judges during the last one year had to be returned. They will not remain on their posts with effect from April 20, 2010 as parliament has not ratified PCO judges in 18th amendment, the court further adjudged while asking the Federal Government to notify PCO judges about their termination in this regard. The judgment authored by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry stated that the constitution is not an ordinary legislative instrument, as it governs the rights and obligations of the citizens. It said PCO judges in the presence of oath given in the constitution accepted oath under PCO, 2007, thus violated their oath under the constitution in letter and spirit. Under the constitutional dispensation neither such expediency is permissible nor it should be applied in future. A six-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Amir Hani Muslim on April 4, 2011 had reserved the judgment on ICAs of PCO judges against the judgment of four-member bench of the apex court. The ICAs were disposed of with the observations that the appellants and others (PCO judges) constitutionally are not holders of the office as judges of the High Courts in absence of validation, rectification and legitimisation of unconstitutional acts, deeds, omissions and commissions of the then Chief of Army Staff General (r) Pervez Musharraf. The PCO and the Oath Order, 2007 have been declared unconstitutional in Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) case and also the parliament gave no validation to the unconstitutional actions, omissions and commissions of the dictator under 18th and 19th amendments. The court said in its ruling: The PCO judges shall cease to hold office of the judges of the High Court after the passing of 18th amendment and the federal secretaries of law and justice are directed to issue notifications in this regard. It further read: The appellants and others shall be entitled for the service and pensionary benefits up to 20-4-2010 when 18th amendment was passed, however, if ultimately they are found to be guilty for contempt of court by this court, their cases for affecting the recovery of pensionary benefits in future shall be dealt with accordingly. The court held that as PCO judges and others are not judges of the High Courts, therefore, they cannot claim immunity for holding their trial for contempt of court under Article 204 of the constitution. The court noticed that some of the judges, who on their own realised that they had not honoured the Nov 3, 2007 order of the Supreme Court and tendered resignations, adding that interestingly, all the judges of the Balochistan High Court volunteered to quit the positions they were holding at the time of pronouncement of the said judgment. It was observed in the judgment that constitutional deviation on Nov 3, 2007 had taken place as Pervez Musharraf apprehended that he would not get favourable decision from the court allowing him to contest the election of president in uniform. But the seven-member bench of Supreme Court for the first time in the countrys history passed restraint order on Nov 3, 2007. Had such like resistance been shown earlier, his lordships Justice Naseem Hassan Shah, Justice Ajmal Mian and Justice Dorab Petal would have also followed such order to save and protect the constitution, said the judgment. The verdict stated that the parliament in the past had granted validation to extra-constitutional steps of July 5, 1977 through 8th constitutional amendment, while the extra-constitutional steps of October 12, 1999 were validated under 17th amendment. In the past, whenever by constitution was abrogated or suspended under martial laws not only the courts but also the parliament had granted legitimacy, validity or indemnity to unconstitutional and unauthorised omission and commission of the dictators without realising that the armed forces are under the control of the federation and they have taken the oath to show allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the constitution. They can only come forward to act in aid of the civilian government whenever they are called for and no sooner the circumstances, on the basis of which the civilian administration was compelled to call for its aid, are over, they have to go back to their barracks and not to continue ruling the country. The chief of the army staff, who is appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister, has no authority to hold the constitution in abeyance. The dictators not only abrogated the constitution but also destroyed the judiciary, which is one of the most important pillars of state under the scheme of trichotomy of powers. It is noteworthy that for the first time in the history of the country it has categorically been pronounced by this court in SHCBA case that superior courts had no jurisdiction to legitimise unconstitutional acts, actions, omissions and commissions of any functionary who had acted contrary to the constitutional provisions. The court also declined the plea of Sheikh Zamir Hussain, SC advocate, that the actions of the appellants be condoned. The court noted it would tantamount to once again reverting back to the doctrine of necessity, which has already been buried in SHCBA case. If such concession is extended to them, other beneficiaries, who are responsible directly or indirectly for violation of the constitution, shall also be benefited, therefore, dismissed the plea. A four-member SC bench, comprising Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Khilji Arif Hussai on February 2 had decided to proceed against unseated judges by framing contempt charges against them on February 21. The PCO judges had filed intra-court appeals against the courts judgment. The nine judges against whom the court had announced to frame contempt charge are: Justice (r) Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, Justice (r) Abdul Hameed Dogar, Justice Hamid Ali Shah, Justice Hasnat Ahmed Khan, Justice Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi, Justice Yasmin Abbasey, Justice Jehanzaib Rahim, Justice Sayed Zahid Hussain and Justice Syed Sajjad Hussain Shah. Later on, two judges namely Justice (r) Abdul Hameed Dogar and Justice Sayed Zahid Hussain submitted unconditional apology before the court.