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May 16, 2018

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SC reserves judgment in ex-CJP manhandling case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved judgment in the manhandling case of former chief justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and held that all the accused should ensure their presence at the time of announcement of the verdict in the matter.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by acting Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, heard Intra-Court Appeals (ICSS) filed by Islamabad's former police and administration officials, who were convicted of manhandling the deposed chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

In 2007, the court had convicted Islamabad’s former chief commissioner, deputy commissioner, IG, DSP and others in a case of manhandling Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on March 13, when he was going to the court to contest the allegations of misuse of office before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

Former Islamabad chief commissioner Khalid Pervaiz and deputy commissioner Chaudhry Mohammad Ali were sentenced to imprisonment till the rise of the court, former IGP Chaudhry Iftikhar Ahmed and SSP Capt (retd) Zafar Iqbal were sentenced to 15 days in jail and deputy superintendent of police Jamil Hashmi, Inspector Rukhsar Mehdi and ASI Mohammad Siraj to one-month imprisonment each.

The officers were earlier indicted by a three-member bench comprising Justice (retd) Rana Bhagwandas, Justice (retd) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and Justice (retd) Nasirul Mulk for maltreating and manhandling the chief justice when he, along with his wife, tried to go on foot to the Supreme Court to face a presidential reference before the SJC after he had been suspended by President Gen Pervez Musharraf. On Tuesday, the court reserved the judgment and ruled for setting such a precedent in the verdict so that in future no such incident could happen again.

Earlier, Khalid Ranjha, counsel for former Islamabad IGP Iftikhar Ahmed, tendered an unconditional apology on his client’s behalf. Acting Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, however, observed that it is the discretion of the court to accept or reject the unconditional apology. Khalid Ranjha contended that the court should look into as to whether an apology was submitted with bona-fide intent or not. At this, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa questioned as to how it could be determined that an apology was submitted with bona-fide intent or not.

Justice Khosa further questioned as to whether an apology was enough to conclude the contempt proceedings against a person who was caught on camera abusing the court. Khalid Ranjha, however, recalled that his client had on the first proceeding tendered an unconditional apology but Justice Khosa observed that apology was tendered after the indictment. Justice Khosa observed that the written apologies submitted by all the accused seemed to be written by one person, which created doubts.

“There is no truth in all the written apologies submitted before the court,” Justice Khosa remarked. He further observed that those officers instead of rendering professional responsibilities in accordance with the law followed someone’s orders and don’t have right to remain on their posts. “Even if a person tendered a real apology, it would still be thecourt’s discretion to discharge contempt proceedings or not”, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed remarked.

Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa observed that it is difficult to understand as to why the former chief justice was ill-treated. Who gave the order for not allowing him to proceed to the Supreme Court and why, he questioned, adding that police was deployed to halt disorder and foil any terror bid.

Sardar Muhammad Aslam, counsel for former chief commissioner Khalid Pervez, submitted before the court that his client had already tendered an unconditional apology before the court and contended that he should be treated keeping in view the case of Nehal Hashmi.

At this, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed told the learned counsel that Nehal Hashmi had also gone to jail, questioning if his client is also willing to go to jail. Meanwhile, the court reserved the judgment and directed that all the accused must ensure their presence at the time of the announcement of the verdict in the matter.

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