Parliamentary proceedings unchallengeable: Justice Jawwad S Khawaja
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja on Thursday said that the Supreme Court could review the debate held in parliament, adding that parliamentary proceedings couldn’t be challenged in any court of law.
A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry resumed the hearing of identical petitions against the recently passed Contempt Of Court Act 2012.
On directives of the apex court, the record of the parliamentary debate on Contempt Of Court Act has been presented in the Supreme Court.
During the course of hearing, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja was of the opinion that the parliamentary proceedings ware protected under Article 69 of the Constitution. He noted, “The discussion is revealing too much about the legislation of such a law”.
The judge, however, inquired regarding the motivation behind the drafting of the law, saying that the parliamentary debate was revealing with respect to the new law’s legislating process.
Petitioner Ahsanuddin Sheikh while continuing his arguments before the bench read out the record of the parliamentary debate over the Contempt of Court Act.
In his view, the parliament had given the approval to the new law in a hurried and didn’t have authority to curtail the powers of the judiciary.
Earlier on Wednesday, the bench remarked that the opposition should have resisted the passage of the new contempt law instead of walking out of parliament, the Senate and National Assembly.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry noted, “The opposition should have stayed in the parliament to resist the ruling party’s move”.
Analysts believe that only a couple of clauses of Contempt of Court Act 2012 appeared to be areas of concerns for the court. One is pertaining to immunity for public office holders against contempt of court proceedings while the other is about an automatic stay on the filing of an appeal.
They were of the view that the court might send back the two controversial clauses to the parliament for review.
In a bid to protect the incumbent prime minister from facing the same fate as his predecessor, the Contempt of Court Act 2012 had been passed in a rush by the government.
It gives exemption to holders of public office from the mischief of contempt in exercise of powers and performance of functions and allows for suspension of a sentence during the pendency of an appeal.
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