ISLAMABAD: Presenting his argument in the prime minister contempt case, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan maintained that the bench which serves the contempt notice cannot hear the case. He was presenting this argument in the Supreme Court on Thursday.
Representing Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Aitzaz said that Article 10(a) of the Constitution provides a right to free trial which bars the bench issuing the contempt notice to hear the case.
Justice Gulzar replied that it does not matter if the contempt hearings are initiated on an application or on a suo motu notice, the same bench will hear the case.
Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani asked Aitzaz that if a person commits contempt in front of the bench, would the bench not send him to jail. The lawyer replied in the affirmative to which Justice Nasirul Mulk, heading the judicial bench, remarked that Aitzaz’s arguments mean that the very article of the Constitution which strengthens the government should be abrogated.
The Supreme Court had initiated contempt proceedings against Gilani after the government refused to write a letter to Swiss authorities in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case.
The hearing of the case was adjourned till Monday.
‘Fundamental right of free trial being taken away from Gilani’
Aitzaz Ahsan, speaking to the media after the hearing, said that it is the fundamental right of every citizen to have a free trial and a due process, which is being taken away from the prime minister in the contempt case.
“There are so many suo motu cases being heard every day, and in no case does the bench issuing the notice hears the case. Some other bench does the trial,” he said.
Aitzaz quoted Article 204 of the Constitution which says that the punishment of anyone who commits contempt of court is defined by the law. “I’m not saying this, the constitution says this.”
He added that he was not disgracing any judge by saying that this bench cannot hear the case as he was only quoting the Constitution and the law of the country.