ISLAMABAD: The full court meeting on Friday ruled that the interview (of real estate tycoon Malik Riaz) aired by a private TV channel was clearly indicative of a pre-planned conspiracy against the judiciary to scandalise the court and bring the court and judges into hatred, ridicule or contempt.
The full court meeting was held under Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.The Supreme Court registrar briefed the meeting about Malik Riaz’s interview to a private TV channel and the off-air conversation between two anchorpersons and the real estate tycoon that was available on YouTube.
The meeting observed that the footage of the off-air conversation seemed a planned conspiracy to shake the public faith and confidence in the administration of justice and undermine the dignity and prestige of the court. The meeting observedthat a bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Jawwad S Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain in the judgment passed in the suo moto case had also bemoaned the role of some anchorpersons in the matter and in particular the lack of due diligence to scrutinise the material and ascertain the true facts of the case.
“It further tends to prejudice the determination of pending cases before the Supreme Court. It therefore warrants action under Article 204 read with Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003,” the meeting ruled.
Separately, the footage of off-air conversation was procured and parts of it were shown to members of the full court. Chief Justice Iftikhar asked critical questions from the Pemra chief, particularly about the role of Pemra in preventing the telecast of contemptuous and scandalous material against the judiciary.
After deliberations, the meeting expressed its faith and determination to maintain and strengthen the independence of the judiciary to ensure free, fair and impartial dispensation of justice by the court.
The full court meeting resolved to call for a comprehensive report from the Pemra chairman to be submitted to the Supreme Court registrar, who will place it before a two-member committee comprising Justice Jawwad S Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain for perusal and recommendation for further course of action, if required.
“What action has the authority taken, and what is the media regulatory framework?” the CJ asked the chairman. Justice Iftikhar also asked the Pemra chief whether he was aware of what was being broadcast on TV channels and whether there was any violation in Malik Riaz’s interview.
Earlier, Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain briefed the full court meeting about Malik Riaz’s interview with Mehar Bukhari and Mubashir Luqman on Dunya TV.
He said the Dunya TV aired an interview of Malik Riaz in its special talk show on June 13 hosted by Mubashir Luqman and Mehar Bukhari. He informed the full court that the off-air interview had also been reported in several newspapers, including The News, Dawn, Express Tribune, Jang, Nawa-i-Waqt, Express, and selective parts of the footage were shown by Geo TV on June 14 in its programme Capital Talk with Hamid Mir and by Dawn News in Live with Syed Talat Hussain.
The registrar further submitted the footage showing the show was pre-planed in which planted questions were asked.
The full court meeting also reviewed the report on pendency and disposal of cases during the last six months. During this period, a total of 8,217 fresh cases were instituted and 7,568 were decided. The meeting expressed its satisfaction over the rate of disposal of the cases and resolved to reduce the backlog through quick and expeditious disposal.
At the beginning of the meeting, the chief justice welcomed the newly-elevated judge of the Supreme Court — Justice Sh Azmat Saeed. The full court meeting was attended by all judges of Supreme Court — Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Nasirul Mulk, Justice Jawwad S Khwaja, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Tariq Parvez, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Justice Amir Hani Muslim, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Muhammad Ather Saeed and Justice Sh Azmat Saeed.