• Tue. Jan 31st, 2023

SC permits ECP to resume contempt proceedings against Imran Khan


An eye catching view of Supreme Court building decorated with colourful lights on the eve of Independence Day celebrations in Islamabad on August 13, 2022. — APP
An eye catching view of Supreme Court building decorated with colourful lights on the eve of Independence Day celebrations in Islamabad on August 13, 2022. — APP

The Supreme Court on Tuesday permitted the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to resume its contempt proceedings against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, along with party members Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar.

The development comes in the wake of the electoral body’s petition filed in the apex court challenging the Lahore High court and the Sindh High Court’s interim orders restraining the commission from passing a final order with regard to a contempt case.

After hearing arguments from all the parties, a three-member bench of the SC — headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Ayesha A Malik — allowed the electoral body to continue with its contempt proceedings against the PTI leaders.

“In view of the foregoing legal position, the proceedings before the ECP under Section 10 of the Act may continue without restraint,” read the SC’s order.

“We hold that the petitioner [ECP] may continue its proceedings in accordance with law including, by decisions on the objections raised on behalf of the respondents,” it added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the PTI had challenged the clause giving the ECP authority to take action.

The bench stated that the implementation of existing law cannot be halted even if it is challenged in court.

“The operation of a statutory provision must not be interrupted by a court of law through an injunctive order in proceedings challenging the vires of such statutory provision,” read the order.

Petition

The ECP, in its petition, had stated that it had issued contempt notices to PTI chief Khan as well as other party leaders, including Umar and Chaudhry in the months of August and September.

However, these notices were challenged in high courts.

The ECP noted that under Section 10 of the Election Act, 2017, it had the authority to initiate contempt proceedings being a constitutional body.

The commission further stated that Khan and Chaudhry had challenged the contempt notices before the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench, while Asad Umar had challenged it before the SHC.    



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