27 petitions: SC to start hearing on Contempt of Court Act

Prime minister, law minister hold meeting to discuss strategy.

Azam Khan July 22, 2012

ISLAMABAD: A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry would start the hearing of some 27 petitions against the new contempt of court law on Monday.

The Contempt of Court Act 2012 was enacted a few weeks ago amid opposition’s protest which termed the new legislation as a ‘black law’, saying it was aimed at saving the new Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf from contempt of court.

Ashraf met with Law Minister Farook H Naek on Sunday to devise a strategy regarding the cases scheduled for next week, including the hearing of some 27 petitions against the new Contempt of Court act.

Naek informed the prime minister about his contacts with Pakistan Bar Counsel (PBC), who also petitioned the Supreme Court against promulgation of the new contempt law.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senators Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani and Babar Awan had also expressed reservations over a few clauses of the law.

On July 14, during a hearing on the contempt law case, the court had issued notices to the prime minister, law minister, the Senate chairman, the National Assembly speaker and others.

The implementation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) order revolves around presidential immunity and it is going to come under discussion for the first time in the Supreme Court from Monday.

Earlier, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was disqualified by the Supreme Court for having committed contempt of court for not writing a letter, as per decision in the NRO case, to Swiss authorities seeking reopening of money laundering cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Immediately after the promulgation of the contempt law, some 27 petitioners had challenged it.

One of the petitioners, Advocate Ashraf Gujjar, former President Islamabad High Court Bar Association has directly challenged the presidential immunity, saying it was against the very concept of Islam and the Constitution.

Gujjar said that the new law was drafted poorly and he notified the court that immunity for president is against the principal of equity ensured in the article 4 of the Constitution adding that the immunity concept was also contrary to article 2, 2A, and 5 of the Constitution.

Article 2 deals with Objective Resolution that says that no law against the Islamic junction could be made in Pakistan.

Gujjar said that the government has provided a chance to settle the issue of immunity once and forever. Under the new law, immunity was sought for all public office holders in the light of article 248 that shows the contentions of the government to manage the court proceedings in the NRO implementation case.


Dare2Speak | 11 years ago | Reply

@Mirza: US cannot be compared to our conditions.Nations like US are much ahead as far as civilization is concerned. If any country's comparison can be drawn with Pak......this may be India or Bangladesh.

Mirza | 11 years ago | Reply

Thank you sir. Not just possible but it has happened Gore won more votes and lost the elections to Bush, because the US president is not elected on one man one vote principle. In fact it is state by state and the winner takes it all from that state. Here is a list of the US presidents who have won the elections despite losing majority of votes. In addition once elected whether directly or indirectly they have constitutional immunity against prosecution both domestic and under International law. The argument that Pakistan is a lawless country so no problem in breaking the constitution is bogus at best. Pakistani constitution clearly states that no new or existing case can be restarted against a sitting president. Those who want the elected govt to follow the SC dictates, are suggesting breaking the constitution because they do not like this particular president. Somebody would not like the next and the process of lawlessness would continue. Yet they would complaint that there is no rule of law in Pakistan. George W. Bush, Benjamin Harrison, and Rutherford B. Hayes were all elected with less popular votes than their opponents.

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