Rana Bhagwandas

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Rana Bhagwandas
رانا بھگوان داس
راڻا ڀڳوانداس
Rana Bhagwandas.jpg
Chief Justice of Pakistan
In office
24 March 2007 20 July 2007
Appointed by Pervez Musharraf
Preceded by Javaid Iqbal (Acting)
Succeeded by Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
Personal details
Born(1942-12-20)20 December 1942
Naseerabad, Sind Province, British India
(now Pakistan)
Died23 February 2015(2015-02-23) (aged 72)
Karachi, Pakistan
Supreme Court of Pakistan Supreme Court of Pakistan, Islamabad by Usman Ghani.jpg
Supreme Court of Pakistan

Rana Bhagwandas (20 December 1942 – 23 February 2015) was a Pakistani jurist who served as a senior judge and acting chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (CJP). He enjoyed extremely high reputation as a judge. [1] He remained the acting CJP during the 2007 judicial crisis in Pakistan, and also briefly became the acting Chief Justice of Pakistan when the incumbent Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry went on foreign tours in 2005 and 2006, [2] and thus became the first Hindu and the third non-Muslim to serve as chief of the highest court in Pakistan. [3] [4] [5] [6] Rana Bhagwandas also worked as the Chairman of Federal Public Service Commission of Pakistan. He headed the interview panel for the selection of the federal civil servants in 2009.


Early life

Rana Bhagwandas was born on 20 December 1942 into a Hindu Sindhi Rajput family [7] in Naseerabad, Larkana District (now Qambar Shahdadkot District) in Sindh. He studied law and received a Master's degree in Islamic studies. [3] He joined the bar in 1965 and after two years of practising law with Abdul Ghafoor Bhurgri, an eminent lawyer of Larkana, joined the Pakistani judicial system in 1967. [8] Later, he became a sessions judge, and subsequently, a judge of the Sindh High Court. [9] He was not a fan of cricket, but remained a supporter of the Pakistan cricket team. [10]

Judicial career

Rana Bhagwandas was promoted to the Sindh High Court in 1994. In 1999, his appointment to the superior judiciary was challenged by a constitutional petition (no. 1069/1999) against the Government of Pakistan and Judge Bhagwandas. The petition demanded that the judicial bench consisting of Judge Bhagwandas should be declared unconstitutional because of Bhagwandas' religion, claiming that only Muslims can be appointed to the superior judiciary. [11] The petition was rejected, and the petitioner was condemned by other judges of the high court and by a significant number of lawyers. [12]

In 2000, he joined the Supreme Court of Pakistan after taking an oath of allegiance to Pervez Musharraf's administration under the PCO. [13] Justice Bhagwandas took strong note of a kidnapping case involving a girl in North-West Frontier Province forced to be a prostitute for four years. [14] A believer in the sanctity of the Constitution of Pakistan and its legal system, Bhagwandas maintained that the law was equal for all religious communities in Pakistan. While staunchly defending Pakistan's society and legal system against charges of bias and suppression of minorities, Bhagwandas was also a vocal opponent of the practice of honour killings of women in the provincial rural areas.

For the 2006–2007 judicial year, Justice Bhagwandas was a member of the second bench of justices which was also home to Justice Nasir ul-Mulk and Justice Syed Jamshed Ali. [15]

On 28 September 2007, in a 6–3 vote the court, Judge Rana Bhagwandas presiding, ruled: "These petitions are held to be non-maintainable but he was among the three dissenting judges who thought that Gen. Musharraf should relinquish army chief's post." The judgment removed obstacles to Pervez Musharraf's election bid but gave Bhagwandas more honour and respect in the country. [16]

Justice Bhagwandas refused to take oath under the PCO which was issued by then President of Pakistan General Musharraf and was among the 60 judges sacked on 3 November 2007. He retired in December 2007 and was reinstated in retired status.

Acting Chief Justice

On 9 March 2007, Pakistan President Musharraf declared Chief Justice Chaudhary "non-functional" [17] and forwarded a reference against him to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) of Pakistan. While Justice Bhagwandas should have taken his place as Acting Chief Justice, but his whereabouts remained untraceable and it was said that he was on a foreign tour of India. On 15 March 2007 a petition was filed in the Supreme Court urging the Pakistan Government to declare his whereabouts. [18] He returned home on 23 March. He was aware of events transpiring in Pakistan and on his return from India, he assumed the office of the acting CJP from 24 March to 20 July 2007 till the SCP full court restored justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. [19]

Earlier, justice Bhagwandas had also served as acting Chief Justice – first in 2005 while Chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was on a ten-day trip to the People's Republic of China and then again in December 2006 [2] when the latter was on a Haj pilgrimage. He was the first Hindu and the third non-Muslim (after A. R. Cornelius and Dorab Patel) to serve in this post. [6] On 8 February 2005 Chief Justice Rana Bhagwandas was honoured with "Siropa" (robe of honour) during his maiden visit to Harimandir Sahib in Amritsar, India. He was on a private visit to Amritsar, Ropar and Chandigarh with Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, another judge of the Pakistan Supreme Court and his wife. [20]

Chairman FPSC

Rana Bhagwandas worked as the Chairman of Federal Public Service Commission of Pakistan from November 2009 [21] to December 2012. He was also a member of the selection board of the Sindh Madressatul Islam University Karachi. [22]


He died on 23 February 2015 in Karachi. The 72-year-old former judge was under treatment for a heart ailment at a private hospital at the time of his death. [23] [24] [25] [26] [27]

See also

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  1. Newspaper, From the (13 August 2013). "Bhagwandas as NAB chief".
  2. 1 2 Hindu judge to act as Pak Chief Justice – The Times of India 28 December 2006.
  3. 1 2 Hindu named Pakistan's Chief Justice – Rediff, 1 September 2005.
  4. "Success Despite the Odds - The Big Story News". Indiatoday.intoday.in. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  5. "'Country first, then religion'". Rediff.com. 6 April 2004. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  6. 1 2 Bhagwandas, known star of Pak judiciary DNA world
  7. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 June 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. Biography Archived 23 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine – Supreme Court of Pakistan
  9. Acting Pak CJ’s kin denied entry at Wagah, The Tribune, Chandigarh, India, 30 March 2006.
  10. 'The law is equal for everyone in Pakistan', Rediff News, India, 14 February 2006.
  11. Pakistan – Attacks on Justice 2000 – Pakistan Archived 7 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine , International Commission of Jurists, 13 August 2001.
  12. Acting Chief Justice of Pak visits Darbar Sahib Archived 15 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine , News, Govt. of Punjab, India. March 2006.
  13. Pakistan – Attacks on Justice 2002 – Pakistan Archived 7 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine – International Commission of Jurists – July–August 2002
  14. SC directs probe in girl kidnapping case Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine Jang, July 2005
  15. SC new judicial year from 9/11 Archived 9 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine – The Nation – 10 September 2006
  16. "CNN, Musharraf wins ruling on army role".
  17. CJ Suspended, escorted home Dawn – 9 March 2007
  18. Petition in SC on Bhagwandas Dawn – 15 March 2007
  19. Bhagwandas meditating in Indian Ashram Dawn – 20 March 2007.
  20. Rana Bhagwandas takes oath as acting CJ today Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  21. "Justice Bhagwandas appointed as chairman of Federal Public Service Commission". Defence.pk. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  22. "Daily Times". Daily Times. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. "Justice (r) Rana Bhagwandas passes away in Karachi - Pakistan". Dawn.Com. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  25. Desk, Web. "Former SC judge Rana Bhagwandas passes away in Karachi | The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  26. shivam shivam (24 February 2015). "Former Chief Justice Rana Bhagwandas of Pakistan passes away - Education Today News". Indiatoday.intoday.in. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  27. Our Correspondent. "Justice Rana Bhagwandas of Pakistan passes away". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Javaid Iqbal
Chief Justice of Pakistan

Succeeded by
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry