SC wonders if apology is enough to ignore contempt | Pakistan Today

SC wonders if apology is enough to ignore contempt

–Five-judge bench reserves verdict in suo motu contempt proceedings on manhandling of former CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry by police in 2007

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court judges on Tuesday wondered if an apology was enough to wrap up contempt proceedings of a person against whom there was video evidence of abusing the court, as they reserved the verdict in a case involving manhandling of ex-chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry by police officials in 2007.

Former CJP Iftikhar had been roughed up by police and administration officials when he refused to ride an official car and attempted to march towards the Supreme Court to attend the proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council.

A five-member bench headed by acting CJP Asif Saeed Khosa heard the suo motu contempt case against the senior police and administration officials.

As the hearing went underway, former Islamabad inspector general of police Chaudhry Iftikhar’s counsel, Khalid Ranjha, informed the court that his client had submitted an unconditional apology and left himself at the court’s mercy. Justice Gulzar Ahmed wondered whether the court was bound to dismiss a contempt notice on the basis of an apology. Ranjha responded that the basis of his defence was an apology and he had no other strategy.

Questioning the apology submitted in court, Justice Khosa questioned how it can be assumed that it is based on facts, adding that the court is yet to figure out why this treatment was meted out to a chief justice. Justice Khosa stated further that those who gave the orders for the chief justice’s roughing up were yet to be identified.

He questioned the genuineness of the apology as it could be a mere mindless action to wrap up contempt proceedings. “Should there be a yardstick to find out if the apology has been submitted with bonafide intent?” he asked, and warned that accused persons would be monitored in future.

Justice Asmat Saeed Sheikh added that whether or not the apology was genuine, the court would have the ultimate say in whether or not to discharge contempt proceedings.

Former chief commissioner Khalid Pervez’s counsel, Sardar Aslam asked the court to keep in mind its order in the Nehal Hashmi contempt case and do the same with his client.

Justice Saeed remarked that Hashmi was jailed for his offence and asked if the counsel was ready to accept that sentence for his client.

After reserving the verdict, the court ordered all the accused to be present in court when the order is read out.

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