CJ IHC Athar Minallah dismisses pleas of PML-N, PPP against PECA ordinance
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Chief Justice Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah on Friday dismissed petitions filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) against the amendments in the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) Amendment Ordinance 2022 to make defamation a criminal and non-bailable offence.
In a detailed judgment issued on the pleas filed by both parties, Chief Justice Athar Minallah said the high court could not accept the petition as both PML-N and PPP had a relevant forum, parliament, available to contest the changes in the law.
IHC CJ Minallah said the interference in political affairs weakens parliament and the judiciary itself is adversely affected by such interventions. He said, “As per Article 189, political parties play a crucial role.” He hoped that the political parties would not bring parliamentary matters to the courts as it would weaken parliament.
The court said a plea against PECA by stakeholders is already being heard and appointed Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan Mansoor Awan as amicus curiae in the case.
During the hearing of the case, the court said it respected all political parties and they should play their role to strengthen parliament. The judge said the courts should not meddle in parliamentary affairs.
The political parties, instead of submitting unnecessary petitions in the courts, should play their role in parliament, he said, adding that parliament can even amend the constitution.
Justice Minallah said the court listened to other stakeholders — journalist bodies among them — as there was no other forum available to them, but political parties can go to parliament.
“We took up petitions against PECA on Thursday, listened to the attorney general as well,” the court said, adding that “symbolic hearings” on the pleas filed by political parties could not be conducted.
Meanwhile during the hearing of the petition filed by PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb on Friday, CJ IHC Athar Minallah declared the petition of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) against Prevention from Electronic Crime Act (PECA) Amendment Ordinance 2022 as inadmissible.
During the hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah disposed of the plea, stating that political party approaching the court is disrespect to the Parliament.
The CJ remarked the Parliament should be made powerful and directed to not bring unimportant applications to the court.
A day earlier, the high court grilled the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the federal government over its “oppressive and draconian” changes in the PECA law through an ordinance.
It asked the attorney general as to why the court should not declare Section 20 of PECA null and void.
The IHC CJ had observed that Peca was only used to target critics of the government. “It is being said with regret that the proceedings [Under Peca] were initiated against those individuals who criticised the government.”
Earlier, PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government tortures those who expose its real face.
Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan wants to use this ‘black law’ against his opponents, she added.
Marriyum Aurangzeb further pledged to take every possible step to protect the Constitution.