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ISLAMABAD: The registrar office of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), on Friday, sent show-cause notices to all the respondents in the case related to the allegations of former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) former Justice Rana Shamim against former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued show cause notices to Shakilur Rehman, editor-in-chief, Aamir Ghouri, editor, Ansar Abbasi, and Rana Mohammad Shamim, former chief judge of the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The show-cause notices issued to Abbasi stated that a news item was reported and published on Monday titled, Saqib Nisar directed not to release Nawaz, Maryam before 2018 elections, which referred to a purported affidavit sworn by Justice (retired) Rana Mohammad Shamim.

It added that the content of the purported affidavit related to appeals pending before this court and which were fixed for hearing before a division bench of this court on November 17 and you filed the news report with the knowledge that it relates to a subjudice matter.

The notice added that the purported affidavit was not part of the judicial record of this court or of any other judicial forum and you published the content of the purported affidavit with the intent of disseminating it widely among public-at-large.

“The content of the news report based on the purported affidavit cast unfounded scandalous aspersions on the independence, impartiality and integrity of this court and all its judges,” said the notice.

It further said, “The content of the purported news report seems to be an attempt to influence the proceedings and outcome in the appeals, subjudice before this court and interfere with the administration of justice by cultivating a view that proceedings before this court and outcomes reached are a consequences of extraneous considerations.”

It continued that the content of the news report amounts to scurrilous abuse of a court of law, falsely imputing partiality and pre-meditation to judicial proceedings conducted by this court, seeking to undermine public confidence in the administration of justice and the ability of this court to uphold the fundamental rights of citizens, including the right to due process, guaranteed by the constitution.

“Admittedly, you neither made any attempt to verify the veracity of the facts, as presented by seeking the versions of those against whom allegations of grave misconduct were made or the Registrar of this Court or independent sources, before its publication,” maintained the notice.

It added that the publishing of the news report without verifying the truth of the account presented as fact appears to be not only in disregard of the editorial and journalistic principles and tenets but also in disregard of the fundamental rights of citizens who are party to the judicial proceedings pending before the court and their right to be judged through a fair trial and due process in accordance with law, without such rights being prejudiced and prejudged through a media trial.

It said that publishing a news report, which tends to obstruct the administration of justice and erode public confidence in this court and its judges and the ability of judicial process to dispense justice without fear and favour, inevitably undermines the rights and liberties of citizens who seek to have such rights enforced through a court system that functions as unbiased arbiter of the law.

It maintained, “The aforementioned acts, prima facie, amount to committing criminal contempt punishable under the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003, read with Article 204 of the Constitution.”

Therefore, it directed the respondents to submit their reply within seven days and appear in person on November 30 to explain why you may be punished for committing criminal contempt under Section 5 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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