SC to indict defence secretary for contempt of court on Nov 4
26 October, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Rejecting his unconditional apology, the Supreme Court on Friday decided to frame charges against Defence Secretary Lt Gen (r) Asif Yasin Malik on November 4 for repeatedly flouting the court orders regarding holding of local government (LG) elections in the cantonment areas.
The court had on October 11 issued contempt of court notice to the defence secretary under Article 204 of the constitution read with section 17 (3) of Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003, for not holding the LB polls in cantonment areas despite a commitment. The incumbent defence secretary had twice given undertakings about holding of local government elections in the cantonments. On July 2 this year he gave a commitment, saying, "Process of election in all cantonment boards will be completed on or before September 15, 2013."
Despite the undertaking elections were not held on the said date. However, on September 23, 2013, through attorney general, the defence secretary filed another statement seeking more time and committed that the LG polls in cantonment areas would be held in the last week of November, because so far the law has not been made for it. During the proceedings, the chief justice stated: "Lt Gen (r) Yasin Malik had twice flouted the court orders blatantly, as in spite of undertaking, LG elections were not held." "He thinks that he is above the law," he added.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing Raja Rab Nawaz petition regarding elections in cantonment board areas. The petitioner has demanded that the election should be held in the cantonment areas of Quetta in accordance with Local Government Act 1924. Advocate Iftikhar Gilani appeared on behalf of the defence secretary and said that "with humility, deeply and genuinely Mr Yasin repents and places himself at the benevolence of the court".
He submitted that there had been genuine efforts on Malik's part, but the problem was that the government has to decide about the elections, and prime minister is the competent authority to approve the amended law for holding of LG elections in the cantonment areas. The chief justice remarked that anyway there was a violation, as the petition had been pending in the Supreme Court since 2009. "We would not allow anyone to flout the court orders," the chief justice said, adding that the secretary had misguided the court, as he was aware that holding elections was not in his power.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said in his statement that the defence secretary did not say that he was not independent in taking decisions and the relevant authority did not implement the order and he would request it again.