Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) MNA Noor Alam Khan submitted a bill on Tuesday to repeal the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003, calling the ordinance inconsistent with the Constitution according to clause 2 of Article 204.

The ordinance had repealed the Contempt of Court Act 1976.

Last week, the Supreme Court restrained TV channels and other media outlets from broadcasting, rebroadcasting or publishing the “contemptuous” pressers of lawmakers Faisal Vawda and Syed Mustafa Kamal, warning that failing to do so would attract contempt proceedings against them.

A three-page order issued by the SC in a contempt case against Senator Vawda and MNA Kamal for their recent outburst against judges explained that all those who broadcast, rebroadcast or publish material constituting contempt may also be committing contempt of court.

Media outlets should desist from doing so, failing which they may also be proceeded against, for contempt of court, the SC order had stated.

The MNA’s bill, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, said: “The Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 was promulgated to regulate the powers of courts to punish the contempt of Court. However, this ordinance is not in line with the provisions of clause (2) of Article 204 of the Constitution.”

According to the Constitution, clause 2 of Article 204 states: “A court shall have power to punish any person who abuses, interferes with or obstructs the process of the court in any way or disobeys any order of the court; scandalises the court or otherwise does anything which tends to bring the court or a judge of the court into hatred, ridicule or contempt; does anything which tends to prejudice the determination of a matter pending before the court; or does any other thing which, by law, constitutes contempt of the court.”

The bill proposed that the ordinance, having “failed to achieve the desired objectives”, be repealed until a substitute law was created by Parliament.

In a conversation with Dawn.com, Alam stated that after the bill — which was accepted by the NA Secretariat — is passed in the assembly, no court would be able to use the contempt of court law.

“This will end the contempt of court law and until the government legislates a new law, the contempt of court law will not exist,” Alam said

Ban on dual citizenship judges, court officers’ appointment

A separate bill by the MNA which was also accepted by the NA Secretariat called for a ban on the appointment of a person with dual citizenship as a judge or an officer of the court.

Kamal in his press conference last week, said dual citizenship of judges was a “big question mark” and the judiciary should be made answerable on this issue, while Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party’s Awn Chaudhry termed it a crisis that would lead to an “anarchy in the country”.

Alam’s bill calls for amendments to Articles 177 (appointment of Supreme Court judges), 193 (appointment of high court judges) and 208 (officers and servants of courts) of the Constitution.

Judges of the high courts and SC “must have their stakes in the country in which they hold positions of authority, privilege and trustworthiness”, the bill said.

It said that individuals who held dual nationality were “putting the interest of the country of their origin at risk” and that there was a “need to ensure the loyalty of the judges” in light of Article 5 (loyalty to state and obedience to constitution and law) of the Constitution.

The bill said it sought to achieve the above objectives.

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