Islamabad: Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry on Tuesday said a nine-judge bench will be formed if the government files an appeal against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani`s conviction of contempt.
Chaudhry made the remarks while addressing a bar association at Sibi in Balochistan province.
Noting that a seven-judge bench had given the verdict against the Prime Minister, he said: "If there is an appeal by the government, then a nine-member bench will hear it".
However, he said three judges have refused to be part of any bench that will hear such an appeal for certain reasons.
An additional judge and two ad-hoc judges will be called to complete the nine-member bench, Chaudhry said.
TV news channels quoted their sources as saying that Justices Ghulam Rabbani and M A Shahid Siddiqui will be the ad-hoc judges and Justice Umar Ata Bandyal will be the additional judge.
The apex court convicted Gilani of contempt on April 26 and gave him a symbolic sentence of less than a minute for refusing to act on orders to reopen graft cases in Switzerland against President Asif Ali Zardari.
The court has so far issued only its short order in the case.
Gilani has said the government will decide on filing an appeal after the apex court issues its detailed order.
He has refused to resign following his conviction, saying he can only be disqualified by the Speaker of the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.
The apex court has been pressuring the government to reopen alleged cases of money laundering against Zardari since December 2009, when it struck down a graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
Gilani has refused to act, saying the President enjoys complete immunity in Pakistan and abroad.