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Friday October 07, 2022

SHC directs Zaheer’s counsel to satisfy it about maintainability of contempt plea against IO

By our correspondents
August 07, 2022

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the counsel of Zaheer Ahmed, a Lahore-based youth who is facing criminal charges of marrying an underage girl from Karachi, to satisfy the court about the maintainability of his contempt-of-court application against the prosecutor general and investigation officer of the case.

Ahmed’s counsel had submitted in the contempt plea that the high court had disposed of the petition with regard to the recovery of the girl after her statement that she was not abducted by anyone and she married Ahmed of her own free will.

The counsel submitted that the provincial advocate general had also submitted before the court that since the marriage was solemnised outside Sindh and no FIR had been registered under the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act but an FIR was registered on the complaint of the girl’s father under the laws dealing with abduction and trafficking of persons.

He said the advocate general was of the view that no case could be made out keeping in view the statement of the girl.

The lawyer argued that the high court had also disposed of the petition with a direction that the applicant’s wife, who had married him of her own free will in Lahore, was at liberty to decide as to

with whom she intended to live with.

He submitted that the father of the girl had challenged the high court order before the Supreme Court but did not press the petition if they were allowed to challenge the ossification test report.

The counsel submitted that the orders of the high court and Supreme Court were binding upon the subordinate courts as well as it should suffice for the officials to understand that the very offence of alleged abduction was not made out in any manner.

He said that official respondents were bent upon to fix a criminal liability against the applicant and also wanted to implicate the remaining family, which was blatant disobedience and tantamount to contempt of court.

The SHC was requested to allow the contempt of court application so that alleged contemnors could be dealt with as per the law.

A division bench of the high court headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro adjourned the matter till August 18 and directed the counsel to satisfy the court about the maintainability of the application.

Medical exmination

A sessions court dismissed on Saturday an application assailing a judicial magistrate’s order refusing the investigating officer permission for a medical examination of a teenage girl who went missing from Karachi and later found to have contracted an underage marriage in Punjab.

The girl’s father, through his lawyer Jibran Nasir, moved the application before Special Gender Based Violence Court (East) Judge Ilyas.

The judge observed that Judicial Magistrate-XXVI (East) Aftab Ahmed Bughio had on August 1, while exercising his administrative powers, dismissed investigating officer DSP Saeed Rind’s application seeking permission to shift the 15-year-old victim from the shelter home to a hospital for a medical examination to determine whether or not the teenage girl was subjected to any sexual assault during the period she spent with her purported husband Zaheer Ahmed following their alleged illegal marriage.

He said that the applicant’s counsel claimed that a medical examination of the victim was basic requirement in accordance with the Section 164-A and provisions of the Prevention of Trafficking in Person Rules, 2020.

The judge observed that it came on record that the investigation was still in progress and it was an admitted position that the challan had not been submitted by the IO.

The opinion of the police had no binding effect upon the courts, he said, adding that the magistrate had ample powers to take cognizance at the time of submission of the challan under the Section 190 of the CrPC.

The judge said the IO’s plea was dismissed in the interest of the victim as there was an apprehension that by conducting her medical examination it would achieve nothing but cause embarrassment to society.

He further said that any order passed by the magistrate during the course of the investigation would be billed as administrative, executive or ministerial order, adding that the August 1 order was not passed by the magistrate during criminal proceedings; therefore, the same be termed administrative.

“In view of above discussion and tentative assessment, I am of the humble view that the present criminal revision application is not maintainable and the same is hereby dismissed without touching the merits of the case,” he ruled.

Charge sheet

Separately, Magistrate Bughio allowed the investigation officer one week’s time to wrap up the investigation into the alleged abduction of the teenage girl and her illegal underage marriage with Zaheer Ahmed in Lahore.

He directed DSP Rind to submit the charge sheet on the next date of hearing slated for August 13.

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