Islamabad : Pakistan's acting chief justice Rana Bhagwandas, who took the place of suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, has gone on leave and a new man been appointed in his place.
Javed Iqbal was sworn in acting chief justice (ACJ) of the Supreme Court Monday.
He stated after the oath taking ceremony that the Supreme Court would decide Chaudhry's case on merit.
"No one can exert pressure on a judge of the Supreme Court. Rest assured, the process of dispensation of justice is without any internal or external pressure," Iqbal told reporters.
Iqbal was sworn in by his colleague Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar. Though the ceremony was attended by judges, advocates and law officers of the apex court, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), boycotted the ceremony, contending that there could be "no acting CJP in the presence of a permanent chief justice", the Daily Times reported.
Bhagwandas has gone abroad "on long leave", according to media reports. He is due to retire in December this year.
He took office in April amidst controversy over Chaudhry's suspension and a nationwide protest.
Bhagwandas, Pakistan's first Hindu to reach the top judicial post and only the second non-Muslim after Justice A.R. Cornelius, was on holiday attending a religious congregation in Lucknow when the storm broke.
He is an authority on Islamic Law.