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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Monday, turned down a petition seeking court’s directions to place former chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Rana Shamim’s name on the exit control list (ECL).

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah also rejected the application, filed by a Supreme Court lawyer, Rai Muhammad Kharral, seeking the court’s permission to become a party in the contempt of court case against the former top judge of the GB.

The applicant appeared before the court in person. The IHC verdict noted that the nature of proceedings under Article 204 of the Constitution read with the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 are confined to matters between the court and the alleged contemnor(s).

“It is for the court to determine whether an act or publication was calculated to lower the authority of a court or judge; to interfere with due course of administration of justice or the lawful process of the court. Contempt proceedings are not meant to protect the shame of a judge, rather, its exercise can be justified only on the touchstone of public interest,” said the bench.

It added, “Nonetheless, the matter of contempt is exclusively between an alleged contemnor and the court. As a corollary, a person other than an alleged contemnor cannot claim to be a necessary party to contempt proceedings. There is no provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1898, parimateria to the provisions contained in the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 regarding impleadment of a necessary or interested party.”

The bench stated that the applicant has invoked section 561-A of CrPC for being impleaded as a party while a plain reading of the said provision unambiguously shows that the scope of inherent powers of a High Court are confined to three eventualities; (i) when making an order is necessary to give effect to an order under CrPC, (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of any court, or (iii) to secure the ends of justice.

The chief justice said that perusal of the assertions made in the application seeking impleadment as a necessary party clearly shows that none of the three eventualities set out in section 561-A of CrPC are attracted in the context of the pending contempt proceedings.

He maintained that for reasons discussed above, the application praying for impleadment as a necessary party in the pending contempt proceedings is misconceived and not maintainable.

He further said that the application of becoming a party is, therefore, dismissed. Consequently, the other application seeking court’s directions to place Rana Shamim’s name on ECL has become infructuous and thus, accordingly dismissed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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