President as immune as chief justices: Aitzaz

Says just as CJs do not need to move court, neither does the president.


Our Correspondent January 23, 2012

LAHORE: The president enjoys immunity in the same way as chief justices of superior courts, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan has said.

“If someone were to move a petition against the chief justice of Pakistan or of the Lahore High Court, registrar offices of both the courts will not accept these petitions because cases cannot be filed against chief justices,” said Aitzaz, who is Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s counsel in the contempt proceedings before the Supreme Court.

Further, he said, the chief justices will not need to approach any court to seek immunity. “Likewise, the president does not need to move a court to seek immunity,” he said, speaking to lawyers at the Lahore High Court premises on Monday.

Aitzaz said that the issue of writing letters to Swiss authorities is irrelevant as, under Article 248 of the Constitution, the president of Pakistan enjoys complete immunity not only in Pakistan but also in Switzerland, hence by not writing the letter under the said article, the prime minister has not committed contempt of court. He reiterated his stance that the letters can be written once President Zardari’s tenure ends.

No holds barred on Justice Ramday

Once a leading figure in the Movement for the Restoration of the Judiciary, Aitzaz had rubbed shoulders with the ones he castigated for doing ‘politics’ now. Expressing displeasure of Justice (retd) Khalilur Rehman Ramday’s public statement on presidential immunity, he said that if Ramday wants to dabble into politics, he should do it openly.

“I respect Ramday but I feel sorry for him. He is the author of the National Reconciliation Ordinance judgment and has put his honour at stake. He should have not spoken on a subjudice matter,” Aitzaz said, adding that Ramday was still under a two-year mandatory post-retirement embargo which means that he cannot speak on the matter. Ramday, he said, was becoming partial.

Representing the PM

Aitzaz said that he had become the prime minister’s counsel on certain conditions. “I have asked the PM that government officials will stop spewing venom against the Supreme Court. And that the PM will not lead a political procession to the SC. Both conditions were honoured.”

COMMENTS (2)

Hyder | 9 years ago | Reply

It is a settled principle of law that where plain language had been used in the statute and it is found to be certain and free from ambiguity, bare reading of the same is sufficient and its interpretation in detail is not necessary.

Article 211 of the Constitution says: The proceedings before the Council, its report to the President and the removal of a Judge under clause (6) of Article 209 shall not be called in question in any Court. 248 (2) No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued, against the President or a Governor in any Court during his term of office.

Immunity is apparent from bare reading or not one may judge with independent mind

Syed Jamal Masood | 9 years ago | Reply

Ch Atzaz has lost his shine by standing with known corrupts. I have read his views about Justice Ramday and felt really sad. Just few days before Ch Atzaz has declared Imran Khan as a honest and true person but can he use same words for PM Gillani and President Zardari? If the answer is "YES" then he is doing right but if the answer in "NO" then why he is trying to protect them?

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