Dorab Patel

Honorable Right Chief Justice Dorab Framrose Patel
Chief Justice Dorab Patel, 1974
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan
In office
7 January 1976 – March 24, 1981
Nominated by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Appointed by Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry
Preceded by Hamoodur Rahman
Succeeded by Mohammad Haleem
Chief Justice of Sindh High Court
In office
April 16, 1970 – January 7, 1976
Nominated by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Chief Justice of West Pakistan High Court
In office
December 6, 1967 – April 16, 1970
Nominated by Ayub Khan
Personal details
Born Dorab Framrose Patel
June 17, 1924(1924-06-17)
Mumbai, British Indian Empire
Died March 15, 1997(1997-03-15) (aged 72)
Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory
Resting place Karachi, Sindh Province
Nationality  Pakistan
Residence Islamabad, Pakistan
Alma mater Bombay University
London School of Economics
(M.Sc. and (LLM)
Lincoln’s Inn
Occupation Barrister
Profession Jurist and Judge
Religion Zorastrian

Chief Justice Dorab Framrose Patel (b.1924 Quetta[1] - d.15 March 1997), was a Pakistan jurist, and lawmaker who served as a former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan and former Chief Justice of Sindh High Court. Justice Patel was a prominent campaigner for the human rights, and was a founding member of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in 1987 and the co-founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

A Parsee by faith, he rose up the ranks of the judiciary to become one of Pakistan's most senior most judges, only to resign on principle after refusing to take an oath of allegiance to Chief Martial Law Administrator and Chief of Army Staff at that time, General Zia-ul-Haq in 1981. Justice Patel died of leukemia.[1]


Early life

He attended various boarding schools before attending the Bombay University in 1942. In 1944, Patel graduated with a LLB in Law and Justice from the Bombay University. In 1945, Patel moved to Karachi where he began his legal practice in Sindh High Court. In 1946, Patel went to United Kingdom and attended the London School of Economics. In 1948, Patel received M.Sc. in Economics, followed by LLM in Law and Justice Development in 1949. He wrote his master's thesis on Pakistan economy and legal system in Pakistan. In 1950, he was called to the bar from Lincoln’s Inn where he was awarded JD in Law in 1953. Following completing his doctorate, dr. Patel returned to Karachi, West Pakistan where he began practicing law in West Pakistan High Court.

Judicial career

He was elected secretary of the High Court Bar in 1964 and was raised to the bench of the then West Pakistan High Court in 1967. Justice Patel was elevated to the Supreme Court on 7 January 1976.[2]

On March 24, 1981, General Zia ul Haq issued a Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) and asked the Justices of High Courts and Supreme Court to take oath on it. Justice Patel refused to take oath and resigned.[1] Had Justice Patel not resigned, he would have become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. After resignation from the Supreme Court, he devoted the rest of his life to waging a crusade for the rights of the oppressed and downtrodden. In 1990, he became the second Pakistani to be elected a member of the exclusive International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).

Important Decisions

  • Justice Patel was in minority in a split decision of 4-3 that upheld the decision of Lahore High Court that handed down death penalty to former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto


  • 1989, Military Dictatorship in Pakistan and the role of Judges (in English and Urdu), by Dorab Patel.
  • 1964, Testaments of Liberals: Jinnah Papers (in English only), by Dorab Patel


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ Supreme Court Annual Report 2002 pg 157 Retrieved 24 June 2010

External links

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