SC dismisses Malik’s plea against IHC order in Cynthia case

Updated 01 Oct 2020

Email

Islamabad-based American blogger Cynthia Ritchie has accused Senator Rehman Malik of raping her in Islamabad in 2011. — Screengrab/File
Islamabad-based American blogger Cynthia Ritchie has accused Senator Rehman Malik of raping her in Islamabad in 2011. — Screengrab/File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former interior minister Abdul Rehman Malik’s appeal and upheld Sept 1 directive of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) about remanding back for review to Justice of Peace the matter involving registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against the petitioner in the rape allegations levelled by US blogger Cynthia Dawn Ritchie.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam decided to send back the matter to the Justice of Peace after Advocate General for Islamabad Niazullah Khan Niazi supported the high court’s decision.

While talking to media personnel after pronouncement of the judgement, Ms Ritchie said the apex court had done justice and its order was a clear message to those who try to suppress the voice of women.

At the last hearing on Sept 28, the Supreme Court had summoned the advocate general for Islamabad and issued notices to the parties concerned. Advocate Saiful Malook represented Ms Ritchie.

Earlier, Additional District and Sessions Judge Nasir Javed Rana, in his capacity as the Justice of Peace, had dismissed the petition of Ms Ritchie under sections 22-A and 22-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (CrPC), seeking a directive for police to register a criminal case against Mr Malik.

But the IHC on Sept 1 ordered that the matter concerning the registration of an FIR over rape allegations be referred back to the justice of peace for review.

Senior counsel Sardar Latif Khosa, who represented Mr Malik before the Supreme Court, argued that the directive to the justice of peace to review the earlier directive would encourage the tendency of pointing fingers by hurling allegations and stigmatising anyone, be it the prime minister or a chief justice or any other important personality.

In his petition, Mr Malik had argued that it was a question of fundamental public importance that required the authoritative pronouncement of the apex court as the high court’s order would gravely effect the life, dignity, honour and respect of the petitioner, besides other high-profile dignitaries of state, and the sanctified fundamental rights granted under articles 4, 9, 10A, 14 and 25 of the Constitution.

The petition alleged that the high court failed to appreciate that there was no supporting evidence with the complaint, like the medico-legal report, chemical examiner’s report or the DNA report, adding that the justice of peace was within his right to dismiss the application by declaring it as false.

Published in Dawn, October 1st , 2020