A breather for Sharjeel, as Court turns to petitioner -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

A breather for Sharjeel, as Court turns to petitioner

KARACHI: In the alleged contempt-of-court case against Sharjeel Memon, the provincial information minister, the Sindh High Court has asked the petitioner to explain if the case falls in its jurisdiction. The petition was filed by a non-governmental organisation that seeks to disqualify the minister on charges of contempt and ridicule of superior courts and judges.

In August, when Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was to appear before the Supreme Court in the National Reconciliation Ordinance implementation case, Memon made contemptuous remarks in his interviews to the print and electronic media, the plaintiff submitted.

According to Article 25 of the Constitution, all citizens are equal and so are equally to be charged or tried for any contempt of court, irrespective of their position in society, including provincial or federal ministers.

The plaintiff questioned a recent debate in the Sindh Assembly on the conduct of judges and the judiciary on the whole.

The provocative and extremely irresponsible statements by the information minister ridiculing the superior judiciary invoke Articles 16, 19 and 204 read with Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Contempt of Court Act of 1973, it was claimed.

Apart from Memon, the ministry of law, justice and parliamentary affairs, the federal law minister, the chief election commissioner, the Sindh chief secretary, the Sindh Assembly speaker and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority were cited as respondents.

The plaintiff appealed to the court to direct the federal law minister and the Sindh government to take action against the information minister, disqualify him from the provincial assembly and order by-elections on his seat.

Memon was elected MPA from the PS-62 of Tharparkar-III.

On Friday, the petition was taken up by Chief Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Syed Muhammad Farooq Shah.

However, Alam noted whether the question of disqualification of any assembly member could be examined by the court or the election commission. The bench then ordered the petitioner to satisfy the court on this point and adjourned further proceedings indefinitely.

The Express Tribune