Contempt law not without flaws: CJ
Posted on 10 months ago
ISLAMABAD: Heading a five-member bench of the Supreme Court, hearing petitions challenging Contempt of Court Act 2012, the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary on Tuesday observed that the government’s claim that the new contempt law was without flaws was incorrect, adding that, all matters of public interest could be taken up in courts.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Shakirullah Jan, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, resumed hearing 27 identical petitions challenging the Contempt of Court Act, 2012.
The lawyers representing the petitioners in the case concluded their arguments on Monday while federation’s lawyer Abdul Shakoor Paracha presented his arguments on Tuesday.
During the hearing, Shakoor Paracha said the parliament has complete right of legislation under the Constitution and this authority could not be challenged. Paracha moreover argued that the new contempt of court law did not in any manner restrict the powers of the judiciary. He also contended that the petitions filed against the contempt law are not valid and could not be heard. “The new law has not alleviated the judicial powers,” he added.
Paracha said the petitions filed against the contempt of court law are not suitable for hearing. At this occasion, Justice Shakirullah Jan said the basic rights have been violated by giving privilege to the elite class in the new law which is why this newly endorsed law is discriminatory.
The CJP asked the federal government’s counsel if this matter was not of national importance, everyone should know that one of the Prime Ministers of Pakistan, that is, Yusuf Raza Gilani was convicted and disqualified due to contempt of court. He said to the lawyer of the federal government, Abdul Shakoor that the lawyer himself accepted that section 12 of the contempt of court law is faulty then how the federal government can say that this law is not a matter of people’s concerns. The Chief Justice told the lawyer of the federal government not only the common people but also Pakistan Bar Council challenged the new law.
Paracha expressed the view that sometimes, media personnel magnify the status of a judge, army general or a ruler. At this the Chief Justice remarked that transgression from one’s powers results in such a situation.
Chief Justice of Pakistan also recited a line from Urdu poetry, which said,
“Those who used to provide the cure of Heart, eventually increased the sale of their mart.” Government’s lawyer Shakoor Paracha said opposition leader raised hue and cry when the judiciary gave remarks against the government. Justice Jawad S. Khwaja said the opposition leader just expressed his opinion and there is no basis of the argument.
Paracha asked the apex court to shift the case to the High Court. He said talk of the tussle between judiciary and the executive are going on. The Chief Justice said if dictatorship has got no support from some sources, democracy would flourish. “The black coat brought revolution in the country,” he observed adding that the judges do not have Kalashnikovs but civil society and media strengthen the judiciary. When counsel of the federal government talked about the reign of Zia-ul-Haq, Chief Justice stopped him from uttering any words about politics. Government’s counsel asked the court to exercise restrain as general elections are at hand.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary said the apex court has set many examples for implementing the rule of law. The CJP said democracy would continue if dictatorship was not supported. He added that the way to authoritarianism was paved when institutions exceeded their jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP), Irfan Qadir sought permission to argue which was denied by the bench. Further hearing was adjourned till Wednesday (today).
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