Supreme Court of Pakistan
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday heard petitions against the recently passed contempt of court law, DawnNews reported.

A five-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and including Justice Shakirullah Jan, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Tassadduq Hussain Jilani, heard 27 identical petitions challenging the Contempt of Court Act, 2012.

During the hearing, Justice Khawaja remarked that members of parliament were servants of the public and that they drew their salaries from the taxes paid by the people of Pakistan.

He further said that the court had been bestowed with the responsibility of implementing the country's constitution.

Justice Khawaja said the Constitution was formulated under an ideology and with consensus.

He moreover said that dictators in the part attempted to obliterate the essence of the Constitution but that the document was still just as significant and valid.

He said the public would approach the courts upon being deprived of their rights.

In his remarks, Chief Justice Iftikhar said that the judiciary wanted and was trying that the country's democratic system continued.

Justice Iftikhar remarked that the parliamentarians had taken their oaths under the Constitution and that they should legislate keeping the Constitution's fundamentals under consideration.

He also said that courts rarely used the option of initiating contempt proceedings.

Raja Afrasiab, the counsel for one of the petitioners, in his arguments said that the Constitution was clear on the contempt of court issue.

He added that the concept of contempt of court had been clearly defined in the Constitution's Article 204.

The hearing was later adjourned to Monday.

Earlier during Thursday’s hearing, the court’s proceeding was consumed by the speeches made in parliament which covered various subjects, from the new contempt law to supremacy, sovereignty and dignity of parliament to the alleged financial wrongdoings by Dr Arsalan Iftikhar and the recent statement of the chief justice about the supremacy of the Constitution and the law.

Also on Thursday, the bench asked the petitioners again to complete their arguments by Friday after which the court will request Attorney General Irfan Qadir and federal government’s counsel Shakoor Paracha to commence their arguments on Monday.

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