SC issues notices to PM Ashraf, others over contempt law
14 July, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and others in a case regarding the newly introduced contempt of court law.
The notices were also issued to the law minister, Senate chairman, Cabinet Division secretary and Establishment Division secretary for July 23.
Meanwhile, all the 11 petitioners have also been informed accordingly.
Earlier, a three-judge bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, heard the petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Baz Muhammad Kakar and Balochistan Bar Association former president Manzoor Bangulzai.
The petition pleaded that the bill was contrary to the constitution and aimed at benefiting a few elites.
PBC refuses to support new contempt law
The newly introduced contempt law has failed to find support at the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) as the ruling party's supporters at the PBC have refused to back it.
According to details, a PBC meeting was held on Friday. It was requisitioned by the Hamid Khan Group, which is known as pro-judiciary. The group passed two resolutions against the new contempt law. Meanwhile, 12 out of 22 PBC members who are considered pro-government, did not attend the meeting to remain neutral over the new contempt law.
The move is being considered a setback for the government. It has been learned that eight PBC members attended the meeting and passed a resolution which said that the Contempt of Court Act 2012 was ultra vires of the constitution and liable to be struck down. They considered the new contempt law an attempt to weaken the judiciary and undermine its independence. They said that the proposed measures were in violation of Article 204 of the constitution and curtailed the courts' power to do justice.
"It denies citizens their right to access to justice. It is also discriminatory and denies the citizens equal protection under Article 25 by creating a special class of persons who would be free to violate court orders without consequences," the said.