ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard petitions against the recently passed contempt of court law, DawnNews reported.
A five-judge bench of the apex court comprising Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Shakirullah Jan, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Tassadduq Hussain Jilani heard the petitions against the law.
During the hearing, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said in his remarks that it was the foresight of the politicians that the issue was not brought up during the passage of the 18 Amendment and in turn the contempt of court law was given protection.
The chief justice moreover said that the Constitution did not allow anyone to ridicule the court on the basis of immunity.
He further said that violation of any court's order was tantamount to committing contempt.
The court also censured the opposition's walkout during the parliamentary proceedings on the contempt of court law.
Justice Khilji said the opposition's walkout was a grave injustice to the voters.
The court asked for a record of the parliamentary proceedings that took place regarding the passage of the new contempt of court law.
In his remarks, Justice Jilani said that the case was being heard not because it involved influential personalities but because it involved the system.
He added that the judiciary respected the parliament but the issue was not about the parliament but about the well-being of the whole system.
Justice Khawaja in his remarks said that the new law was a matter of concern for the common man.
Also during the hearing, Abdul Rehman Siddiqui, a petitioner's counsel, argued that the new contempt law was legislated to curtail the powers of the judiciary and was in violation of the Constitution. He moreover said that the new law contradicted with Islamic teachings.
Siddiqui added that the prime minister and officials of the ruling government may face contempt of court cases, hence the new law had been passed with ill intentions.
He asked the court to declare the law as void and said that legislation over the contempt law was the prerogative of the Supreme Court.
Advocate Abdul Shakoor Paracha, representing the federal government, said that he had come to the Supreme Court not to defend the contempt of court law but to assist the court.
The hearing was later adjourned until Thursday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Advocate Hamid Khan, representing petitioner Mehmoodul Hassan, concluded his arguments, while the chief justice, who heads the five-judge bench, observed that “the law-making process through which the Contempt of Court Act 2012 was passed has even hit Article 63(1g) of the Constitution (disqualification for ridiculing the judiciary), rather they have made this provision of the Constitution redundant”.