ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) resumed hearing of various identical petitions challenging the Contempt of Court Act 2012 Friday where the attorney general continued his arguments, Geo News reported.
A five-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Chaudhry and comprising Justice Shakirullah Jan, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Tassadduq Hussain Jilani, resumed hearing 27 identical petitions challenging the Contempt of Court Act, 2012.
While Attorney General Irfan Qadir continued his arguments today, Justice Khilji Arif remarked that the new law does not mention several terms pertaining to the contempt of court definition.
He said the terms of ridicule, scandalisation and contempt of court were not present in many sections of the law.
Replying to this, the attorney general said some alternate terms have been used while some are being explored.
Moreover, the attorney general said that he could not afford to divert “even an inch away” from the Constitution.
Upon which Justice Khawaja said that he ends up moving two to three inches away from the Constitution every time.
“No, I have not moved away from the Constitution to even a centimetre,” Qadir said.
On Thursday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry pointed out that the attorney general was trying to malign the judiciary and defame the judges after the latter told the Supreme Court that four of the judges on the bench hearing the contempt law case were prejudiced.
Advancing his arguments, the AG said the enactment of the new contempt of court law became necessary as there was no contempt law in the country while a premier was unconstitutionally convicted and disqualified by the apex court on charges of contempt.
He said that the law had not infringed on any fundamental rights of the petitioners, adding that the contempt of court law was enacted in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He pleaded that the petitioners should have approached the high court instead of knocking at the door of apex court, to which Justice Jawwad S Khawaja asked whether the bench should send the instant petitions to the high court.
The AG prayed that the bench not hear the matter directly under the provisions of law, adding that the instant petitions were not maintainable. He requested the judges to observe a code of conduct to uphold the dignity of judiciary. He also said four of the judges on the bench were prejudiced. At this, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja inquired why the AG had not raised the objection over the formation of the incumbent bench earlier, given that it had been hearing the petitions for the past 10 days.
The AG responded that he had tried speaking up but was told to remain quiet by the judges on the bench. The court directed the AG to name the judges in writing and give his reasons for calling them prejudiced.
Addressing Qadir, Justice Khawaja and Chief Justice Iftikhar said: “This is not the first time you have raised objections over the constitution of a bench.” Chief Justice Iftikhar moreover said that the attorney general was making an accusation that he could not prove, adding that Qadir should not try to defame the judges.