Judiciary’s criticism in TV talk shows angers Supreme Court
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has expressed its anger over some journalists for criticising judiciary in a TV programme.
Hearing the plea of Information Ministry’s counsel who asked for initiation of contempt proceedings against TV anchor Hamid Mir, a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja on Tuesday watched the recording of the TV programme in which Mir raised questions regarding the role of applicant Raja Amir Abbas as well as judiciary in the case related to the accountability of media.
The bench also objected to anchor Muhammad Malick’s criticism of judiciary in the same programme over making public of the list of journalists who received money from the secret fund of the Information Ministry. Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir urged the court to initiate contempt proceedings against these journalists for using “scandalous language” against the court. He contended that if the court could initiate contempt proceedings against two former prime ministers on the charge of ridiculing judiciary then law should be applied equally in this matter as well.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja expressed anger over Muhammad Malick’s statement and said that the court would summon him for passing certain remarks related to the judiciary in the programme. Agreeing to the AGP’s contention, he told him if he was so interested then he should move an application for contempt proceedings against the journalists. Meanwhile, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain observed that the court did not expect Muhammad Malick to use such words against the judiciary, as he was a gentleman.
Referring to Malick’s statement, Justice Jawwad remarked that judges were ready if someone wanted to open Pandora’s box. Later on, petitioner Absar Alam requested the bench to ignore of the remarks of the journalists in the TV programme. The court also directed auditor general of Pakistan to present its stance about those departments which have refused to audit their secret funds. It also asked the petitioners to assist the court in this regard.
On the other hand, the AGP contended before the bench that the court could not direct the auditor general of Pakistan regarding the audit of secret fund. However, Justice Eajaz Afzal Khan said that in view of Article 169 of the constitution, it was the discretionary power of the auditor general of Pakistan to determine the extent and nature of such audit. The court also observed that there was a major conflict between Freedom of Information Ordinance and 19-A of the constitution. The hearing of the case has been adjourned for one week.
Source: Daily Times