Criticising retired chief justice not contempt of court: IHC CJ

Court rejects petition against PML-N leaders

By: News Desk      Published: 01:17 PM, 26 Nov, 2021
Criticising retired chief justice not contempt of court: IHC CJ
File photo.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has dismissed the contempt of court petition against Maryam Nawaz and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as non-maintainable for hearing.

Earlier, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had reserved judgment on the admissibility of the petition and later issued the written decision in the evening.

The court has given a verdict that the contempt of court law was for the protection of the parties, not the judges and they were not exempt from public criticism.

The CJ of IHC has said in his detailed decision that an independent judge is never affected by criticism. The verdict stated that the contempt of court proceedings are conducted solely in the public interest.

The decision also stated that a judge is a private person after the retirement because, after the retirement, the judge is no longer part of any court so defamation of a private person is not a contempt of court.

The CJ said in his decision that there were existing other laws to protect the dignity of private persons.

The verdict stated that the former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice (Retired) Nisar was criticized in his personal capacity and personal criticism could not be prosecuted for contempt.

Earlier in the day, the court reserved its ruling on the petition.

Earlier, during the hearing of a petition filed by a female lawyer, Chief Justice of the IHC Justice Athar Minallah remarked that speaking against a retired person, including the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP), did not constitute ‘contempt of court’.

“The aggrieved person or party can also file a suit for damages,” he said, adding that since the judges held high positions, they should welcome ‘criticism’.

The petitioner, in her petition, had argued that the remarks passed by both Maryam and Abbasi against the former CJP at a press conference fell in the category of a ‘contempt of court’. 

When the petitioner reminded the chief justice that the show-cause notice issued to journalist Ansar Abbasi was also pending with the IHC, Justice Minallah clarified that that was a separate case. “Don’t mix the two,” he advised. 

Reporter: Ihtesham Kiani