SC rules intrusion into homes without warrant violates fundamental rights

  • CJP-authored judgment says illegal entry of police into the petitioner’s house raises questions about validity of any evidence collected

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday underscored the sanctity of citizens’ homes, stating that any intrusion without a search warrant violates fundamental rights.

“No any law permits anyone to enter homes without obtaining a search warrant, which is the inviolable right to privacy enshrined in the Constitution.”

Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa observed while heading a three-judge bench, hearing the case of blasphemy accused.

“Without obtaining a search warrant the privacy of the petitioner’s home was violated. Article 8 of the Constitution gives paramountcy to the Fundamental Rights (including Article 14), which cannot be abridged, and if any law is made in contravention thereof it states that it shall to such extent be void”, says judgement authored by Justice Isa.

The judgment, issued while granting bail to an accused facing blasphemy charges, emphasised the paramountcy of constitutional liberties.

The bench also noted that when the police itself do not abide by the law it is a matter of grave concern. “And all the more so when a citizen’s liberty is involved. It is noted that in such cases the complainant, rather than the police, takes the lead, and also effectively takes over the investigation. This is done in complete derogation of the law and the Constitution. The SSP stated that he will ensure that in future the law is strictly followed. He further states that he will be examining whether disciplinary action is required to be initiated against the delinquent policemen,” the order stated.

The case stemmed from an incident at Humak police station in Islamabad in July 2023. The complainant alleged encountering blasphemous content in the house of the accused, prompting police intervention without a warrant.

During proceedings, it came to light that the police failed to follow legal protocols, neglecting to obtain a search warrant before entering the petitioner’s home. Furthermore, the court highlighted discrepancies in the investigation, noting the absence of proper procedure as mandated by law.

“The illegal entry of the police into the petitioner’s house raises questions about the validity of any evidence collected,” the court stated, calling attention to potential legal transgressions.

Addressing the severity of the charges, the court remarked on the need for clarity in legal proceedings, cautioning against hasty or unfounded accusations that could irreparably harm individuals’ lives.

The order also criticised the prolonged incarceration of the petitioner, highlighting the need for expeditious trials to ensure justice.

The court noted that the petitioner is entitled to bail upon furnishing a bail bond and one surety in the sum of Rs50,000 to the satisfaction of the trial court.

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