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CORNELIUS JUSTICE A

CORNELIUS, JUSTICE A R (1903-1991) A R Cornelius was born in Agra, India, and studied at a college in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, and then went on to Cambridge University in England for further studies He joined the Indian Civil Service (ICS) in 1926 and was transferred to the judicial branch of the service Soon after the establishment of Pakistan, Cornelius was appointed to the Supreme Court of Pakistan While on the Court’s bench, he displayed total independence, refusing to go along with his fellow judges in sanctioning political actions in terms of the “doctrine of necessity” He was the sole dissenting voice in two landmark constitutional cases which dealt with the legality of executive decisions, both of which had profound implications for the country’s political development In a dissenting opinion in the Maulvi Tamizuddin case, filed to challenge Governor-General Ghulam Muhammad’s dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, Justice Cornelius agreed with the finding of the Sindh High Court



The Sindh court had declared the governor-general’s action to be unconstitutional and ordered the restoration of the Constituent Assembly In the Dosso case, filed to challenge the military takeover of the government under the leadership of General Ayub Khan, he was once again the lone dissenting voice He disagreed with the majority opinion that Ayub Khan’s martial law was de jure, by virtue of its being de factoThese dissenting opinions notwithstanding, Justice Cornelius will be most remembered for the report on the reform of the civil administration that he authored in 1964 The report was never released to the public; the government regarded its conclusions to be too radical for implementation Despite the secrecy surrounding the report, it became widely known that Cornelius and his colleagues had recommended the abolition of the Civil Service of Pakistan and its replacement by a more broadly constituted administrative service that would not have a powerful influence on economic decision-making In this respect, Cornelius had gone even further than the recommendations of Zahid Hussain in the First Five-Year Plan documentPakistan had to wait another eight years before the main recommendation of the Cornelius Commission was implemented In 1974, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto dissolved the Civil Service of Pakistan and introduced a system of recruitment that allowed broad representation of the people to the civil service

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