[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] tossed out "vexatious and scandalous" evidence introduced by the government in the case of suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive] and rebuked prosecutors Monday, ordering the Intelligence Bureau (IB) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] to search the high court and the homes of its justices for surveillance devices. The evidence, which contained photographs taken inside Chaudhry's home, was presented by the government last week against Chaudhry but only corroborated allegations by Chaudhry that the government was spying on senior judges. The high court also issued a prohibition against all intelligence officials entering the court or obtaining information from court officials.
The ruling is the second major setback for President Pervez Musharraf's efforts to remove Chaudhry from the top court on allegations of misconduct [JURIST report]. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that it has jurisdiction over legal disputes [JURIST report] involving the suspension, frustrating arguments [JURIST report] by government lawyers that the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) should be permitted to resume its disciplinary investigation against Chaudhry. The top court suspended the SJC's inquiry [JURIST report] in May after Chaudhry argued that the SJC lacked competence to try him. AP has more.