SC dismisses contempt plea against NAB chief

Apex court says failure to complete inquiry in stipulated time does not warrant contempt of court proceedings


Our Correspondent October 04, 2021
NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday dismissed a petition seeking contempt of court proceedings against the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over the watchdog's failure to conclude inquiry against Federal Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar within the stipulated timeframe.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial dismissed the plea, saying the matter didn't warrant contempt proceedings.

The petition was filed by Ahsan Abid who said that NAB informed the Lahore High Court in May 2020 that the inquiry against the minister would be completed in three months.

"Due to its failure to conclude the inquiry in three months, NAB has committed contempt of court," the petitioner said.

Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel asked the petitioner to tell where was it written in the law that contempt of court proceedings can be initiated if the inquiry was not completed in time?

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The LHC in its order maintained that it was not insulted, Justice Qazi Amin said, adding then how can the SC say that NAB has committed contempt of court.

The NAB deputy prosecutor apprised the bench that the inquiry against Bakhtiar has been finished and NAB Lahore has sent recommendations to the headquarters. "The decision on the inquiry report will be taken in the executive board meeting," deputy prosecutor Imran-ul-Haq added.

Justice Bandial asked the petitioner if he had any personal issues with the federal minister. To this, the petitioner responded that he filed the plea in public interest.

"If it is not your personal problem then why are you appearing in person," Justice Mazhar Alam questioned.

"We cannot interfere in the workings of NAB," Justice Bandial said, adding that the petitioner didn't prepare the case. He further said that the court cannot order NAB to probe politicians or federal ministers.

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