The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) resumed hearing of various identical petitions challenging the Contempt of Court Act 2012 Friday and has declares new contempt law unconstitutional.
Reading out the verdict, the chief justice said that the new law was in conflict with Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution. The order moreover said that granting immunity to public office holders was in violation of the Constitution. It said the government did not have the authority to formulate the rules for contempt of court, adding that, the law was an attempt to curtail the independence of the judiciary.
The order stated: “17. After having found various provisions of COCA 2012 as ultra vires the Constitution, we are of the opinion that the remaining provisions of the impugned legislation, if allowed to stay on the statute book, would serve no purpose particularly, when it has been held that repealing section itself is a nullity, therefore, the principle of severability as applied by this Court in Mehram Ali v. Federation Pakistan (PLD 1998 SC 1445) and Dr. Mobashir Hassan’ case is not attracted. 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 (AIR 1948 PC 194), it is declared that the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 shall be deemed to have revived with effect from 12.07.2012, the day when COCA 2012 was enforced with all consequences”.
Earlier Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualifies PM Gilani due to contempt of court conviction.