Child maid case: IHC reserves verdict on transferring jurisdiction

Published: March 18, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court Friday reserved its verdict on the jurisdiction for trying a district judge and his wife for allegedly abusing their 10-year-old housemaid.

Justice Aamer Farooq reserved the order after all parties concluded their arguments.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife Maheen Zafar had been booked after the victim accused them of keeping her in wrongful confinement, burning her hand over a missing broom, beating her with a ladle, detaining her in the storeroom and threatening her. On March 8, the Supreme Court had halted the trial of the case in a district court and tasked the IHC to consider transferring the case to either another subordinate trial court or consider assuming its own jurisdiction in the case.

Judicial Magistrate Islamabad Syed Haider Ali Shah had been conducting the trial in the case.

Civil society members, being represented by Asma Jahangir, had sought the transfer of the case under section 526 (High Court may transfer case or itself try it) of the Criminal Procedure Code. The counsel for civil society, Shabbir Hussain, urged the court to transfer the case to the high court to ensure a transparent trial.

However, counsels for the judge and his wife, Raja Rizwan Abbasi and Sardar Taimur Aslam respectively, argued that transferring the trial would affect the right of appeal. They maintained that by shifting the trial to the high court, the judge would lose appeal in district and sessions court and the high court. Interestingly, Ilyas Siddiqui, the counsel for the child maid and her parents, opposed transferring the case as well.

Meanwhile, Advocate General Islamabad Mian Abdul Rauf told the court that the high court can assume jurisdiction in the case.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2017.

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