Dual office: 'Courts are here to enforce judgements, not convict or disqualify'

Published: December 12, 2012
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LHC chief justice hears contempt of court petition against President Zardari.  PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

LHC chief justice hears contempt of court petition against President Zardari. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

LAHORE: Courts are expected to get their judgements implemented instead of convicting or disqualifying anyone, remarked Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday while hearing a contempt of court petition against President Asif Ali Zardari’s dual offices.  

Heading a five-member full bench, the chief justice said the courts are not here to convict and disqualify anyone but only to enforce judgements.

The bench adjourned further hearing till December 13 and asked the counsel to come up with arguments related to constitutional concepts regarding civil and criminal proceedings. The counsel was also asked to cite a case of civil nature wherein punishment had been awarded to a defendant.

Earlier the bench also accepted a request made by an additional attorney general to allow federation’s counsel to also argue on the issue of immunity after the arguments from petitioner side.

Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh, Justice Sheikh Najamul Hassan, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah were other members on the bench.

Advocate AK Dogar, the counsel for the petitioner, stated that non implementation of court’s judgments will hurt many provisions of the Constitution and there will be a “no-court” like situation in the country.

During arguments, he tried to convince the bench that proceedings of contempt of court – if initiated against the president – will not be criminal in nature but civil and the immunity enjoyed by the president under Article 248(2) of the Constitution was not a hurdle in the way of such proceedings.

Justice Bandial observed that the government functionaries or public office holders had been given immunity to protect them from frivolous litigation; otherwise, it will become impossible for them to perform their official responsibilities.

To this, Dogar responded saying that immunity granted to the president and others was in sheer violation of basic principles of Islam too.

Justice Shah further observed that the people of the country would get the law of immunity abolished if they consider it against Islam. He added that immunity could not be extended to illegal and unconstitutional acts of all public office holders including the president, who are equally bound to obey the law and Constitution.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • asim
    Dec 12, 2012 - 7:51PM

    What is the use of such useless judges if they can not decide on Justice.?

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  • A J Khan
    Dec 12, 2012 - 8:34PM

    I just heard a jamat Islami speaker on Capital Talk, who said that the drivers of Supreme Court and High Courts get more pay than the MNAs and MPAs.
    If that is the situation of Drivers of the Judiciary, one can imagine the Pays and allowances of the Judges .

    Are they paying taxes?

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  • hasan
    Dec 12, 2012 - 8:35PM

    I agree the judges are not doing their job for what they are appointed.

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  • webwiz
    Dec 12, 2012 - 9:04PM

    actually the court’s job is the write judgements. It is the job of the state or executive to enforce them. Judge Umar Bandial is saying otherwise. In any other democratic country, does not go around enforcing its judgement.

    Secondly people seem to use the Islam argument as a “catch-all” when they cannot find a valid argument in the constitution. In Islamic history has the ruler or chief of a country ever been prosecuted? This is an academic / theoretical argument and has never been implemented in practice. If the president has immunity from prosecution, then the only way to topple him is to impeach him in the Senate. Let us stop these shenanigans and get down to business.

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  • Mirza
    Dec 12, 2012 - 11:16PM

    @webwiz:
    I fully agree with your post. It is ironic people only talk of Islamic equality and justice when it comes to against elected leaders. No such talk against Zia, Yehya, Mush and those hosted OBL in an army base. All generals and judges have immunity against prosecution no matter what. There is no talk of Islamic equality and justice there! The lawyers and even the judges use poetry and Islamic equality when there is no legal argument!
    Regards,
    M

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  • webwiz
    Dec 12, 2012 - 11:49PM

    @A J Khan:
    MNAs and MPAs make out like bandits in this country. They dont pay taxes even. Take a look at Bilour Ahmed’s assets or anybody in the Sharif gang. Public needs to ask this Jammat Islami speaker to validate his claims by providing proof. I find it hard to believe our “hardworking” MNA and MPA’s are making less money than drivers. If that is the case the country would not be in the state it is in now.

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