Islamabad, Aug. 5: An editorial in a Pakistani daily has said that the Pakistan Supreme Court’s verdict to nullify the new Contempt Law smacks of self-interest.
These are categories that cannot be summoned at will or through the coercive power to punish, the editorial said. They are earned over time through the judgments of the courts, and only if such judgments can be accepted that pass the test of scrutiny of being impartial, fair, and in the interests of justice, without any shade of controversy or accusations of overstepping the jurisdiction of the court.
On this last count, it must be said with the greatest respect to Their Lordships, the jury is still out, the editorial in the Daily Times said.
The Supreme Court, in a 21-page short order has struck down the Contempt of Court Act 2012.
What the short order offers in terms of the grounds for the striking down of the law are that it sets up a special class of top political office holders who were declared as enjoying immunity from contempt of court for acts committed or actions taken in the discharge of their duties.
This has been declared discriminatory and violative of the provisions of the Constitution that declare all persons equal before the law, it said.
The best legal brains of the PPP, Senators Aitzaz Ahsan and Raza Rabbani had expressed their view in the house that the law as it stood was flawed.
The apex court has focused on those flaws, and found them so fundamental that instead of asking parliament to revise the law and excise or redraft the offending provisions, has decided to get rid of it altogether, it added.
The legislature, the short order says, cannot give itself this right, which would be deleterious for the independence, respect and dignity of the judiciary, it further said.
Perhaps the last word on the Supreme Court’s efforts to safeguard the respect, dignity and power to punish contemnors of the courts has not yet been said, it said. (ANI)