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Contempt law case: Govt files appeal in SC to review verdict

August 08, 2012


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

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday filed an appeal in the Supreme Court to review its recent verdict scrapping the newly passed contempt of court law, DawnNews reported.

In the appeal, the government's counsel, Abdul Shakoor Paracha, stated that the law was only passed following proper legislative procedures practised by the parliament and that the parliament had the authority to legislate.

On Aug 4, the apex court had thrown out the hurriedly prepared and enacted Contempt of Court Act (COCA) 2012 designed to save the new prime minister from the ire of the judiciary.

“Thus, having been left with no constitutional option, COCA 2012 is declared unconstitutional, void and non est, as a consequence whereof, following the dictum laid down in Attorney General for Alberta v. Attorney General for Canada, it is declared that the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 shall be deemed to have revived with effect from July 12 the day when COCA 2012 was enforced, with all consequences,” the court's verdict of Aug 4 stated, thus resurrecting the old ordinance under which Yousuf Raza Gilani was convicted and later disqualified.

The filing of the appeal comes in the backdrop of the issuing of a show-cause notice for contempt of court to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over his failure to implement the court’s directive of writing a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Pakistan People’s Party’s frontline leaders met and “expressed determination to resist within the bounds of law and the Constitution the emergence of new centres of legislative power other than the elected parliament”.

“Lawmaking is the sacred responsibility of legislature which will not be abandoned at any cost,” the president’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar said on Tuesday.

Political and legal observers believe the government-judiciary tussle would intensify in the days to come as they expect that Prime Minister Ashraf could also be ousted like his predecessor was removed for contempt of court.