LHC dismisses Shehbaz's plea for expediting defamation hearing against PM Imran

Upholding the objection of the registrar office, LHC directs the petitioner to approach the concerned forum


Rana Yasif March 19, 2021
Lahore High Court. PHOTO: LHC.GOV.PK

LAHORE:

The Lahore High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif for the daily hearing of his defamation case against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Upholding the objection of the registrar office, LHC directed the petitioner to approach the concerned forum of the directorate general of the district judiciary.

The registrar office had earlier raised objection on the petition, stating that the petitioner should first approach the concerned aforementioned forum.

Earlier today, Shehbaz approached LHC over a 'constant delay' in the proceedings on his defamation suit against the premier.

The PML-N president had made the PM and an additional district and sessions judge as respondents. The judge was conducting the trial of the case. According to the petitioner, the premier's alleged false, malicious and baseless statements had tarnished his image and he seeks recovery of Rs10 billion in damages.

Also read: CM Shehbaz wants verdict on defamation case against Imran Khan

In his plea, Shahbaz, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, stated that his repeated requests before the respondent judge to proceed expeditiously in the case went in vain.

He maintained that the concerned judge had not even allowed arguments on the applications filed by the petitioner related to the closure of the right to file written statement by PM Imran, and also to try and conduct the hearing on a day to day basis.

“The acts of the omission and commission on the part of respondent PM Khan are in complete violation and in utter disregard of the law and its spirit, reducing the judicial system as a mockery which requires intervention from the court”, the petitioner stated.

He asked whether justice delayed was justice denied, whether the respondent judge is at liberty to violate section 14 of The Defamation Ordinance 2002, whether the mode and manner in which PM Imran had acted violated his fundamental rights as granted by the Constitution and whether, under the circumstances, this court may graciously issue a writ in the form of a direction coupled with a declaration.

Shehbaz highlighted that around 83 proceedings were conducted on the petition, out of which more than 60 times, the respondent had sought adjournment 'with different tactics'.

Also read: Shehbaz Sharif serves defamation notice to Imran Khan

He contended that section 14 of The Ordinance of 2002, without any exception and or discretion, commands and directs the learned judge to adjudicate a lis within 90 days.

"The delinquent behaviour of the respondent by adopting tactics to delay the said process of adjudication, since he did make baseless allegations and now wishes to avoid being declared a liar by a court of competent jurisdiction, has received, perhaps unintentional support from the respondent judge to the extent of being able to delay the trial of the said trial".

The petitioner prayed to the court to pass directions to the concerned judge for conducting the trial on a day to day bases to avoid permitting the premier from indulging in further acts to frustrate, suspend and sabotage the trial of the suit.

"Further, based on the laws that are applicable on the subject and the circumstances established therein above, this court may graciously declare that malicious measures adopted by respondent PM Imran tantamount to acts that merit closure of his right to file a written statement."

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