A day after it sailed through the National Assembly, the Contempt of Court Bill 2012 was challenged in the apex court.
The proposed law was challenged by Advocate Siddique Khan Baloch who made the federation, through the ministry of law, justice and parliamentary affairs, a respondent.
Describing the bill as ‘another National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO)’, the petitioner said it would only serve to protect certain important people in the country.
The bill stipulates exemption from court trail for the president, the prime minister, the provincial chief ministers, federal and provincial ministers and governors on contempt of court charges.
The underlying objective of the bill is to obstruct the implementation of law and lawful orders by the courts and to pave the way for a slow death of the accountability process, according to the petitioner.
He said that the new bill curtailed independence of the judiciary and violated the spirit of constitutional provisions.
The petitioner maintained that the bill, if passed into law, would delay contempt proceedings and frustrate the constitutional provision of article 2-A, 4,5,25,175, 203,204 and 248 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
Requesting the apex court to declare the bill unconstitutional, the petitioner said, “The Contempt of Court Bill/Law 2012 passed by the National Assembly was ultra vires to the Constitution and against article 8 of the Constitution.”
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, meanwhile, hoped the apex court will strike down the new bill.
“We hope the Supreme Court will strike down the contempt of court amendment bill, 2012,” Khan told a news conference in Islamabad on Monday.
The 1973 Constitution guarantees equal rights to all Pakistanis, so the ruling clique doesn’t have the right to introduce any amendment to the existing laws which would undermine the spirit of the Constitution, said Imran.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2012.