Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Wednesday issued a contempt of court notice to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan for allegedly making derogatory remarks against the top court and its judges.
Taking notice of Imran’s comments at recent news conferences, Justice Chaudhry directed the PTI chief to appear before the court on Friday (August 2) and explain his views pertaining to the judiciary.
“Prima facie it seems that Imran Khan has started a deliberate campaign to scandalise the court and bring the judges into hatred, ridicule or contempt,” Justice Chaudhry noted in his written order.
“Thus, his above acts call for action for contempt of court under Article 204 of the Constitution read with Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 … Therefore a notice be issued to him to appear on August 2, 2013 and explain as to why proceedings as envisaged by provisions of the Constitution and law be not initiated against him,” the order added.
A notice was also issued to Attorney General Munir A Malik.
According to the note submitted by the Supreme Court Registrar to the chief justice, Imran Khan, in the July 26 news conference, termed the conduct of the judiciary and the Election Commission ‘shameful’ and claimed it had facilitated rigging in the May 11 elections. It added that the PTI chief made similar remarks on two subsequent occasions.
“On July 29, 2013 he expressed a lack of trust in the judiciary and alleged that the judiciary/Supreme Court had a hand in rigging the recent elections. On July 30, he once again stated that judicial officers acting as returning officers remained controversial in the general elections,” the note maintained.
“Indeed, he [Imran Khan] has used contemptuous and derogatory language against the Supreme Court and its judges,” it read further, adding that the PTI chief’s statements were aimed at “shaking public faith/confidence in the administration of justice and undermining the dignity and prestige of the court, thereby tending to bring the court and judges into hatred, ridicule or contempt.”
“It is hard to understand the outburst of the PTI chairman… Fair comments can be made on judicial verdicts but it is impermissible to scandalise/ridicule the court or its judges. Article 204 of the Constitution read with the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 indeed provide for punishment for contempt of Court,” the note stated.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2013.