Contempt notices issued to AJK editor, printer
MUZAFFARABAD – The Chief Justice of the AJK Supreme Court, Justice Muhammad Yunus Surakhvi, has issued contempt of court notices to the owner, printer and a reporter of a magazine for publishing “libellous and fictional matter with a view to harassing the members of the superior judiciary”.
Weekly Nawa-i-Hurriyat had published in its issues of July 26 and Aug 2 ‘false and unfounded substance’ about the AJK superior judiciary in an attempt to “lower down its prestige and honour and to harass the learned judges to achieve some ulterior motives,” said a press release issued by the apex court’s registrar on August 6.
The weekly, which purportedly appears from Muzaffarabad and Rawalpindi, had also printed two advertisements in its issue of July 26 about Justice Surakhvi and High Court Chief Justice Syed Manzoor Hussain Gillani which prima facie amounted to contempt of court and was thus cognizable in the eyes of law, the press release said.
The advertisements were addressed to Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Federal Kashmir Affairs Minister Dr Ghazi Ghulab Jamal who happen to be the chairman and in charge minister of the AJK Council by virtue of their respective offices. The superior judiciary members in AJK are appointed by the AJK president on the advice of the AJK Council.
According to the press release, the CJ issued two notices each to the weekly’s chief editor Raja Khawar Nawaz, printer Malick Abdul Aziz, owner of TS Printers, Rawalpindi, and an unnamed bureau chief.
“The superior judiciary of Azad Kashmir has full faith in the freedom of press, but this freedom must not cross limits to reach the level of slander and character assassination of judges without any justification and proof. Journalism did have a code of conduct which ought to be followed,” the press release quoted the CJ as saying.
Notices were also issued to the information secretary, director-general public relations and the Muzaffarabad deputy commissioner. These functionaries were asked to inform the court about the steps they had taken to cancel the declaration of such periodicals.
“If any paper or periodical publishes something against the recognized ethics of journalism, it is liable to punitive action and its declaration could be revoked,” the CJ said.
The Muzaffarabad SSP was directed to produce the culpable persons before the court at 9am on Aug 13 and if they were not found, notices should be pasted outside their residences, said the release.