IHC sends Islamabad DC to jail in contempt case

ISLAMABAD  -  The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Friday sen­tenced six-month im­prisonment to Deputy Commissioner (DC) Is­lamabad Irfan Nawaz Memon and two others in a contempt of court case.

A single bench of IHC Justice Babar Sattar an­nounced its reserved verdict in the contempt of court case against Deputy Commission­er (DC) Irfan Nawaz Memon, SSP Islamabad and SHO for abusing and disregarding the high court orders declaring detention orders passed under MPO illegal, for obstructing administra­tion of justice and deny­ing citizens access to jus­tice, and for setting at naught the remedies af­forded by the justice sys­tem. The court also im­posed Rs100,000 fine on each of them. Justice Sat­tar also directed that let a copy of this judgment be sent to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, to investigate whether Deputy Commis­sioners across Pakistan who continued to issue detention orders under MPO in breach of the law and the Constitution and judicial orders were act­ing in an organized man­ner on the basis of illegal orders, and if so, take ap­propriate remedial action to ensure that the author­ity of the state to be exer­cised through chosen rep­resentatives of people, continues to be exercised according to the Consti­tution and the law. The IHC initiated contempt of court proceedings due to the prolonged detention of PTI leader Shehryar Khan Afridi and Shandana Gulzar under the MPO Or­dinance. In its written or­der, Justice Sattar stat­ed that as this Court has come to the conclusion that respondents No. 1, 2 and 4 are guilty of con­tempt of court which has caused substantial detri­ment to the administra­tion of justice, they are li­able to be punished under section 5(1) of the Ordi­nance. He added that as has been highlighted in the law discussed earlier in this judgment, the pur­pose of punishment in a matter of criminal con­tempt is to uphold pub­lic interest in fair and un­fettered administration of justice. He mentioned that Respondent No. 1 (the DC) issued orders to detain over 5 dozen citi­zens for almost 1000 days, which orders were found to be illegal, cannot with­out consequence. Justice Sattar pointed out that representative democra­cy is a salient feature of our Constitution. Execu­tive authority is vested in the elected representa­tives of the people. Arti­cle 2A of the Constitution provides that, “the state shall exercise its authori­ty through the chosen rep­resentative of the people.” The judge continued that they also threaten the ex­istence of the Judiciary as an independent pillar of the state conferred with the responsibility of ad­judicating grievances be­tween the citizens and the state. If such policy of de­liberate and calculated disregard for fundamen­tal rights of citizens and rendering dysfunction­al the machinery for en­forcement of fundamental rights in the form of an in­dependent Judiciary is al­lowed to persevere, there can be no rule of law in Pakistan. Further, the very existence and utility of the Constitution would come into question.

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