Imran advised to tender apology over judge remarks

PTI seems to be taking contempt case against ex-PM ‘lightly'


Hasnaat Malik August 25, 2022
Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Lawyers, who support the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, have been urging former prime minister Imran Khan to tender an unconditional apology over his tirade against a female judge

However, it appears that the PTI is still taking the contempt case against its chairman Imran Khan “leniently”.

Imran, in his recent address in Haripur, had criticised Additional and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, who granted two days’ custody of the ex-premier's aide Dr Shahbaz Gill to the Islamabad police.

It has been learnt that one application would be filed in the contempt case wherein material would be placed before the Islamabad High Court on the multi-party alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders’ statements against the superior judiciary.

Similarly, Gill's family might move a complaint for taking action against the female judge before the IHC inspection team to take action against her.

However, senior lawyers are wondering as how the complaint can be filed on the basis of a judicial order which was also upheld by the IHC itself.

They say that filing such a complaint will further damage the PTI. The lawyers expressed disappointment on the special media campaign against the female judge.

Read more: Govt sends mixed signals on arresting Imran Khan

Likewise, it is also being witnessed that PTI leaders on social media are also questioning the IHC for upholding a female judge's order wherein Gill was subjected to two more days' remand.

Several pro-PTI lawyers are suggesting Imran to tender an unconditional apology for uttering a threatening statement against the female judge.

Imran held a meeting with the PTI legal team on Wednesday. It is not yet to clear who will represent Imran in the contempt case.

Several party leaders are suggesting him to engage a lawyer who has good reputation in the judiciary.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah will resume his judicial work from next week.

The court is proceeding against the PTI chief on the charge of obstructing the administration of justice – a serious issue.

Interestingly, acting IHC CJ Aamer Farooq has issued a written order on a petition seeking disqualification of Imran on account of non-declaration of his child.

The IHC has asked the counsel for the petitioner on the maintainability of plea and adjourned the hearing until the last week of September.

Similarly, a debate is also continuing whether or not the IHC has jurisdiction to initiate contempt proceeding against Imran in the absence of a petition.

Former additional attorney general Waqar Rana said apparently, under section 4 (2) of Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003, a high court could deal with a matter of contempt related to a subordinate court but there was no procedure as to how it could proceed into that matter.

Another senior lawyer said the high court could do that based on information.

"The informant is a relator. Once that is done, the matter is between the court and contemnor,” he added.

Advocate Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar said there was no limit or restriction under Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 upon superior courts of the country regarding cognisance of any matter relating to civil, criminal and judicial contempt.

However, he added that Section 4 (3() of Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 -- despite giving powers to superior courts in other sections to take suo moto jurisdiction but catagorically excluded the domain of a high court.

It stated that no high court shall proceed in cases in which an alleged offence of contempt was punishable by a subordinate court under Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.

According to him, there was no such restriction on the Supreme Court as it could take cognisance in all matters relating to contempt.

The legal expert further said one should always respect courts and judges as an institution.

However, in the present case, an FIR was registered on an earlier statement under the Code of Criminal Procedure as well as under the Anti-Terrorism Act by police on a written complaint of a government official, prior to taking cognisance of the high court.

“The high court lacks jurisdiction in suo motu as per clear wording and exclusion of Section 4(3) of Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003,” he added.

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