However, appearing before the five-member bench hearing 26 identical constitutional petitions filed against the Contempt of Court Law 2012, Attorney General Irfan Qadir said the federal government had appointed Justice (retd) Shakoor Paracha to plead its case, a private TV channel reported.
Paracha submitted a notice issued to him about 16 petitions. He pleaded that a full court should hear the case instead of a five-member bench. But rejecting Paracha’s plea, the chief justice said a three-member bench had decided that a five-member bench would conduct the hearing and the bench consisted of all senior judges.
Responding to Paracha’s plea for more time, Justice Iftikhar said the court had already given enough time and this was an important issue and needed to be disposed at the earliest.Repeating Paracha’s request for more time, the attorney general said the case was the first of its kind and no such case had appeared before in the history of Pakistan; therefore, two weeks should be given before the next hearing.
Rejecting his plea, Justice Iftikhar said: “Your information is not correct because a similar case was heard by a four-member bench headed by Justice Ajmal Abbasi in 1996.”Justice Tasadduq Hussain Jilani remarked that supremacy of law existed in safeguarding the Constitution, adding the old contempt law would remain until ‘we continue to believe in the rule of law’.
The chief justice said no act by parliament could slash the jurisdiction of the judiciary, elaborating that some measures mentioned in the 1973 Constitution were exempted from the definition of contempt of court. “However, this exemption has been abolished with the passage of 18th Amendment,” he added