Growing tendency to defy court: SC

Published: September 16, 2012
Apex court releases detailed verdict, says PM duty-bound to give effect to court orders. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Apex court releases detailed verdict, says PM duty-bound to give effect to court orders. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


Criticising the “growing tendency” by state functionaries to not obey court orders, the Supreme Court has said that this practice would lead to anarchy in the country.

Penned by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the Supreme Court released a detailed judgment of its order in the Contempt of Court Act 2012 case – in which the new law was adjudged to be null and void – on Saturday.

“The growing tendency of not obeying judgments of the courts by the State functionaries, including the high-ups of the executive will reduce the judgments/decrees of the courts of law to mere paper decrees and render the whole system of administration of justice ineffective and lead to anarchy.”

The detailed verdict mentioned the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) case as an example in which its orders are constantly defied due to which a former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani was tried, convicted and disqualified for contempt of court.

Gilani’s successor Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is also facing contempt of court proceedings in the same case. He is set to appear before the court for the second time on September 18 to record his statement on whether he will write a letter to the Swiss authorities for reopening graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

“Though the courts, exercising judicial restraint, have always used their power to punish for contempt sparingly, but at the same time they have a reciprocal expectation from the persons against whom the same were issued for implementation/execution of the judgments, orders and directions,” read the court judgment referring to the present contempt proceedings against premier Ashraf.

The court drew the government’s attention to Article 190 of the Constitution which itself declares that all executive and judicial authorities throughout Pakistan shall act in aid of the Supreme Court. The prime minister is, therefore, duty-bound to give effect to the decisions of this court, the judgment said.

‘No blanket immunity for anyone’

The court also made it clear in its judgment that no protection from contempt proceedings is available to any of the state functionaries. “Clearly, considering the language employed in Article 204, no protection is available to any of the state functionaries mentioned in Article 248(1) from contempt proceedings … unless an amendment is made…”

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, in his separate note, said, “Article 204 of the Constitution  is  not to protect  the  ego  of  the  Judges  but  in fact it  protects the right of public generally and specially of the litigant.”

In his additional note, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja highlighted that the power to punish contemnors not only exists in law-abiding nations of the world, but has also been used whenever required to enforce court orders.

Conduct of judges

The court, without mentioning the contemptuous speeches delivered during the legislation process of the contempt act in parliament, held that “In view of Article 68 of the Constitution … the [National Assembly] Speaker is obliged not to allow a member to discuss the conduct of any judge of the Supreme Court or a high court in the discharge of his duties and if a member does it in violation of the above provisions, the speaker is expected to take any of the actions envisaged under rules.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • lalai
    Sep 16, 2012 - 10:47AM

    ‘No blanket immunity for anyone’. I wish if it also includes the judges as well.


  • Sep 16, 2012 - 11:15AM

    They should not issue verdicts which can not be implemented and also against the constitution caluses. This would not only save their face, but avoid “anarchy”.


  • Neutral
    Sep 16, 2012 - 2:12PM

    Beatle..surely all verdicts of the courts are un-implemented in this country..this is what you guys want…then no need to hv judiciary system, all cases & judgment can be decided by the law ministry as per the wish of the accused….how does that sounds ? is this a rule of law in any civilised country ?Recommend

  • Neutral
    Sep 16, 2012 - 2:17PM

    What are implementable verdicts…Beatle ? you want the judiciary to ask the accused / defendent…what type of verdict / sentences is implementable ? & then pass orders accordingly…is this how a civilised country runs ? unless you believe..we are not a civilised country yet…?Recommend

  • Mr. Honest
    Sep 16, 2012 - 4:01PM

    There are 18,000 cases pending only in the supreme court… almost 3 million cases are pending in courts of Pakistan all together. Go figure out yourself !


  • Muneer
    Sep 16, 2012 - 7:06PM

    Do justice,give verdict according to law.Every one icluding those punished will accept the verdict. Contempt ofcourt fear will not induce acceptence.


  • Fahim Alavi
    Sep 17, 2012 - 11:49AM

    Growing tendency to defy constitution: Parliament


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