LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has observed that the substance in the defamation suits filed by actor-cum-singer Ali Zafar and singer Meesha Shafi against each other is separate and triable concurrently and independently.

“It may be true that the parties are the same but that is all which is common. No similarity of matter(s)-in-issue(s) is conspicuously identifiable in both the suits,” Justice Asim Hafeez observes in his detailed verdict issued on a civil revision petition of Ms Shafi.

The judge had allowed the plea of the female singer and set aside a decision of a sessions court wherein proceedings on her suit were suspended.

Opposing the petition, Zafar’s counsel had taken a plea that the matter in both suits is identical having its origin in the allegations of harassment leveled by Shafi against Zafar.

He argued that both suits could not proceed concurrently and once the suit filed by Zafar is decided no triable cause of action would survive regarding the subsequent suit by Shafi. He said section 10 of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 put a bar on trial of any suit in which the matter in issue is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between the same parties.

However, Justice Hafeez observes that section 10 of the CPC is not attracted to the facts pleaded in the suits.

The judge rules, “Matter-in-issue in subsequent suit was neither directly nor substantially in issue in the former suit.”

He says the nature of the allegations, timings thereof and incidence pleaded alleging defamatory statements and publications and causes of actions are separate, independent and distinct.

The judge observes that mere commonality of source of controversy is no ground to plead that matter in issue directly or substantially overlaps or causes of actions merged.

Shafi and Zafar have been pursuing legal fight against each other since 2018 when the former accused the latter of causing her sexual harassment on multiple occasions.

Zafar filed a defamation suit of Rs1 billion against the female singer who also filed a subsequent suit against the actor, which was taken up by the same sessions court.

On an application of Zafar, the trial court had stayed the proceedings in the subsequent suit by Shafi.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Reforming militants
24 Jul, 2024

Reforming militants

Such initiatives have been tried before, in Swat for instance, at centres run by the military as well as NGOs.
IPP debate
24 Jul, 2024

IPP debate

A FIERCE debate blaming the exorbitant electricity prices on expensive power purchase agreements with IPPs has been...
Political vendettas
24 Jul, 2024

Political vendettas

IT seems that the PML-N and PPP need to be reminded again that they are doing themselves a considerable disservice ...
Security concerns
23 Jul, 2024

Security concerns

All stakeholders want what is best for the country and its people; their differing approaches shouldn’t be viewed with such suspicion all the time.
Frankfurt vandalism
23 Jul, 2024

Frankfurt vandalism

THE state needs to seek serious answers from the German authorities regarding the July 20 mob attack targeting...
Stressed cotton economy
23 Jul, 2024

Stressed cotton economy

DECREASING cotton production should be a worry for the government because of its socioeconomic implications. Early...