ISLAMABAD: Deciding cases on the basis of likely consequences will mean reverting to the malignant ‘doctrine of necessity’ that has been buried by the people with their valiant struggle, the Supreme Court said on Monday in its detailed judgment on the prime minister’s appeal in the contempt case.
Giving reasons for rejecting the plea, the 15-page judgment authored by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja referred to the concern of the prime minister’s counsel Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan who had said in his arguments in the intra-court appeal that the stability of the democratic system “may depend on the outcome of this case”.
On Feb 10 an eight-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had dismissed the appeal against the summoning of the prime minister in the contempt case.
“The court can only strengthen the rule of law by upholding the Constitution,” the detailed judgment said.
The court said the defence argument like the act of contempt, if any, was not ‘wilful’ and that the prime minister was only acting on official summaries he had received in accordance with the rules required appraisal of evidence and should be left for adjudication by the trial bench.
From the facts available on record, it was amply clear that a case of contempt did exist against the prime minister since he had not implemented directives issued in the NRO judgment.
“It is now up to the prime minister to present evidence and legal reasons to show how, if at all, the preliminary impression is unfounded.”
The judgment said that all people, regardless of their stature in society, were equally bound by the law and were expected to obey court orders and the possibility of contempt being committed by a constitutional functionary was a more serious matter than if the same had been done by an ordinary citizen.
It said the Constitution was based on the principle of equality before law and officials were required to diligently and faithfully serve the people and not to rule over them with impunity.
Justice Khawaja said all constitutional officers held their offices only as a trust for the general public.
“This is why all constitutional functionaries are required to take an oath promising adherence to the Constitution and the law.
“In Article 190, they have also been expressly obliged to act in aid of the Supreme Court and if constitutional functionaries do not show such obedience, they can be seen as have violated the trust reposed in them by the public.
“It is to take stock of such violations of public trust and not because of any egoistic reasons that courts are obliged to proceed against violators — a possibility contemplated in Article 204,” the judgment said.