ISLAMABAD: A lawyer has sought initiation of contempt proceedings by the Supreme Court against former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry for allegedly lowering the dignity of the court by writing a letter to the incumbent chief justice to seek personal benefit.
Advocate Riaz Hanif Rahi filed the petition in the Supreme Court on Wednesday under Sections 3 and 5 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 read with Article 204 of the Constitution.
According to the petition, the former CJ had on Aug 2 written the letter to incumbent Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, requesting him to address the issue regarding allotment of a plot in Sector D-12/2 of Islamabad.
The author of the letter said that a controversy over allotment of the plot had been unnecessarily created because of influence of a sitting judge of the apex court.
Iftikhar Chaudhry blamed for lowering the dignity of court by writing to the incumbent chief justice for personal benefit
The petition claims that the letter was written on a letterhead having the logo of the Supreme Court. Besides, the former chief justice attributed the word “Justice” to himself without adding the word “retired”, thus giving an impression that he is still part of the institution as a sitting judge.
“The use of the logo of the Supreme Court for personal gain… speaks volume about the illegalities of the respondent and by using the logo and the term ‘justice’ for himself, he has lowered the authority of this court,” it argues.
The respondent has invited the influence of the highest judicial office in an illegal way for personal gain and, by seeking remedy from the judicial forum, has brought embarrassment to the institution, the petition contends.
It says that the former chief justice was no more part of the institution after his retirement and, therefore, he has lost the entitlement to allotment of the plot.
The approach of the respondent in getting undue privilege can further be ascertained from the fact that he is using an official bulletproof vehicle with its fuel and maintenance cost borne by the government, which is not admissible under the law, the petition argues.
It recalls that retired Justice Chaudhry lodged a criminal case in 2013 against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, accusing him of ridiculing and maligning the judiciary and the case is still pending adjudication before the district and sessions judge of Islamabad.
On the same grounds, the former CJ should also be made answerable for lowering the dignity of the judiciary, the petition says.
The respondent has disturbed the decorum of the court, ridiculed and scandalised the court and committed an offence of cheating by impersonating as depicted on the face of the letter, it alleges.
The Supreme Court has held that even the head of the state is bound by the law to which the former chief justice has repeatedly shown disrespect, it alleges.
Besides, the Islamic jurisprudence being a supreme law clearly provides that the authority of the court is supreme and everyone is equal before the court of “Qazi” without any distinction, the petition says.
Any distinction so created will lower the authority of the court while those before the court must be realise that the parties are to be treated alike.
The petition cites the Supreme Court’s 1976 judgement in the M. Inayat Khan case in which the court held that administration of justice must be kept free from extraneous influences so that public confidence in independence and impartiality of the court is not impaired and litigants are not deterred in any manner from seeking enforcement of their legal rights through the course of justice.
Similarly, in the 1963 Shabir Ahmad case, the apex court held that any attempt to pollute the stream of justice or to interfere with it will amount to contempt of court, it recalls.
Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2016