SC nullifies Talal Chaudhry’s apology in contempt of court case, disqualifies him for a period of 5 years

SC nullifies Talal Chaudhry’s apology in contempt of court case, disqualifies him for a period of 5 years

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ISLAMABAD: A five member larger bench of the Supreme Court has dismissed intra court appeal of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Talal Chaudhry against his conviction in contempt of court case.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the case.

The sentence by a three judges bench of the apex court headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed renders Talal Chaudhry disqualified to hold public office for a period of five years. The court also imposed Rs. One Lac fine on the PML-N leader.

Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice of his contemptuous speech, which he made in January this year.

The apex court had launched contempt of court proceedings against Talal Chaudhry  for railing against the judiciary at a rally in the wake of former premier Nawaz Sharif’s ouster in the Panama Papers case last year.

Justice Nisar termed the former minister’s comment urging PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif to oust judges who took oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) from the apex court, as the “biggest contempt of court”.

Talal, however, did not tender an apology in the contempt case.

The verdict

In August, the top court found him guilty of “contempt of court within the meaning of Article 204 of the Constitution read with Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 and made himself liable for punishment.”

He was convicted and sentenced under Sections 3 and 5 of the Ordinance, 2003 and punished with imprisonment till the rising of the Court with fine of Rs.100,000.

“The alleged contemnor in his two speeches has not only abused the judges of this court but has scandalised the court and did everything to bring the court into hatred, ridicule and contempt, which is substantially detrimental to the administration of justice and scandalizes the Court and tends to bring the Court and judges of the Court into hatred and ridicule,” read the court order.

Although the apex court noted that it was “undeniable that every citizen has been conferred the right of freedom of speech and expression and such right has been conferred in Article 19 of the Constitution, which is one of the fundamental right provided in Para-II of the Constitution”, however it stressed that that “such freedom of speech and expression given to every citizen has been made subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with the foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of Court, [commission of] or incitement of an offence.

Talal was the third PML-N leader to be found in contempt of court in ongoing year. The other two leaders included: Nehal Hashmi and Daniyal Aziz.

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