Foot in Mouth Award 2010: Justice Ad-hoc Khalil ul Rehman Ramday – by Saad Mansoor

The Foot in Mouth award is awarded each year by the Plain English Campaign for a baffling comment in English language by a prominent figure. The comment can be inappropriate for being queer in grammar or content or both. The English proverb after which the award is named, ‘foot in the mouth’, simply means a distasteful or foul oration. The proverb I believe is self explanatory. It further goes without saying that if similar award was to be given in Pakistan, despite tough competition from Chief Justice Lahore High Court Khwaja Sharif, the outright winner would be Justice Khalil ul Rehman Ramday. While all of his golden quotes can fill volumes, some select few and their apparent fallacy or foolishness have been reproduced here to impress his exemplary personality upon the readers.

Not few days ago,

Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday said in his remarks, ” the courts had been left with no task but to pocket insults.” October 2010

So sir, you do finally realise your public standing? Had you paid a bit more attention to serving the people of Pakistan than focusing on lynching their elected representatives day and night, you would be receiving some accolades, but since you are not doing so, enjoying your well deserved share of insults.

He also observed,

“CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was held by hair and dragged, but we did not take any action. Whenever such an incident takes place, a strategy is adopted with wisdom. We did not take revenge on anyone for what happened with us after March 9, 2007,” October 2010

Are you suggesting that in following the course of law you did me or the people of Pakistan a favor? The fact that why the Chief Justice of Pakistan did not get a FIR registered is another matter.

Another member of the bench, Justice Ramday said that wherever judges try to raise their heads, they are immediately showered with hammers. September 28, 2010.

When did they raise their heads? Can you quote one incident other than 9th March? Also, may I suggest that you refrain from basking in CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry’s glory, using it to put yourself on a pedestal.

Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday said: “We judges cannot sit as silent onlookers if someone is committing suicide before us.” 30 September, 2010

What?! Didn’t you guys do exactly that during the eight year Mush rule? Yes, before your sudden awakening! When all the banks, flour, sugar and rice mills, stocks in power plants, PTCL, KESC and many other institutions had been given away in shady privatisation deals and stock market had crashed twice.

These two quotes both part of the 18th amendment case proceedings, in response to different arguments pertaining to the amendment with respect to appointment of judges.

Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday remarked that the judiciary was separated and detached from the executive, but now the latter’s role was being enhanced while in the UK, the executive’s role was minimised in appointments.

“Judge is appointed by the Senate in US. But here in Pakistan ground realities will have to be looked into,” Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday remarked.

So sir, do you think people of Pakistan are stupid? We are not ignorant fools, heads-I-win, tails-you-lose is not going work. Be ethical and pick a side.

Justice Ramday cited in a judgment that Article 248 came up for interpretation in Ch Zahur Ilahi’s case (PLD 1975 SC 383), which stated the scope and the operational area of the said provision as “…the immunity provisions must, in accordance with the accepted principles of interpretation, be construed strictly and unless persons claiming the immunity comes strictly within the terms of the provisions granting the immunity, the immunity cannot be extended. The immunity is in the nature of an exception to the general rule that no one is above the law.”

The matter was further explained thus: “Hence, since neither the Constitution nor any law can possibly authorise him to commit a criminal act or do anything which is contrary to law, the immunity cannot extend to illegal or unconstitutional acts.”

Okay, so the immunity extends only when you convict people for actions permissible under law, got it!

On the formation of a judicial commission Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday said, during a hearing

‘Thank God that our ministers and bureaucrats are honest and angels. The sheer fault lies only with the judges; hence, they must be set right.’

No sir they aren’t but the bureaucracy is not (directly) governed by the Constitution, hence their appointment was not covered in the eighteenth amendment. Seems you missed out on some crucial lessons at law school. As for the ministers, why do you question their eligibility, did you yourself not say in Court that it was up to nation to decide to whom they wanted to see as judge or otherwise. So why do you not honour their decision when it is not in your favour.

At a different date he further remarked,

The judiciary had rendered sacrifices, judges faced detention and hunger along with their children and had to let go numerous competent brother judges by way of the July 31 verdict (for taking oath under the PCO) only to save the democratic system. But, he said, the hands of the same judiciary were being tied.

Honourable sir, you with your fellow lordships suffered four months of detention in your house with your families. This was done at the hands of a dictator whom you strengthened and served unconditionally for eight years. For such support you deserve a minimum of life imprisonment. Moreover, while you walked hand in hand with the dictator, hundreds of politicians and political workers were tortured until they changed loyalties.

Should your logic be accepted why don’t you give the political leadership of the country a free pass they have earned as per your logic? Each one of them has sacrificed more than the entire judiciary put together.

But above all his quote for which he truly deserves an award is his outright admission in the Court, ten days before the 3rd November emergency, while Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan was pleading the case of Justice Retired Wajihuddin.

“I am not ashamed if I had taken the oath under the PCO,” Justice Ramday observed. “We have made our country, its institutions and the Constitution a matter of laughing stock in the world.” He said that whatever ‘burble and verbal jugglery’ might be behind the changes made since 1977 in the Constitution, the country had been ruled under the Constitution.“But we sit here and waste days and weeks trying to understand (interpreting things).”

Sir, this was at the peak of the historic lawyers movement. You had the audacity to not only defend your oath under the PCO but also question why should you be ashamed. One is forced to wonder that had you been offered an oath by Musharraf again, would you have stood by Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry?

While, his lack of shame on committing treason deserves recognition, it is for his persistent shamelessness two years on that we award him Foot in Mouth.

Justice Ramday recalled that, “all the validations accorded by the judiciary were temporary in nature, but asked why the one who committed treason by abrogating the Constitution and the institution (parliament) which indemnified such actions had not been touched, but the judiciary was being singled out unnecessarily.”

“All the subsequent abrogation and martial laws were not only accepted by the people but also given permanency by political leaders,” the judge regretted.

He said the 8th Amendment was one such example when the 1985 parliament indemnified all extra-constitutional actions taken by Gen Ziaul Haq.

“Why did the parliamentarians not stand up by refusing to validate Ziaul Haq’s martial law if the judiciary had given a wrong decision in the Nusrat Bhutto case?” Justice Ramday asked. He also cited the Zafar Ali Shah case in which the judiciary had given three years’ time to Gen Pervez Musharraf to hold elections.

Mr Ramday in his desperation has forgotten that the eighth amendment ratification by the sham parliament was challenged by Benazir Bhutto in Courts as it was un-Constitutional for even the house so elected was unicameral in nature, only to be disappointed by the Court yet again. The verdict mind you was given after the demise of the dictator. He has also forgotten the non-partisan elections of Zia, the low voter turnout and the suppression of people by the dictator. Both the eighth amendment and the seventeenth amendments were carried out by parliaments which were a result of heavily rigged elections, yet he would go to any length to deny any blame on his part.

For all the above comments and your lackof shame in putting such thoughts into words, you deserve Pakistan’s first Foot in Mouth Award. Congratulations!!

Originally posted on Green Goat’s Hide.



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