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LAHORE: A bar member has approached the Lahore High Court against the promulgation of impugned amendment in PECA Ordinance 2022 with the prayer to declare it illegal and sheer violation of Article 19 of the Constitution.

Muhammad Ayub through his counsel Chaudhry Saeed Zafar said that Article 19 of the Constitution talks about the freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

“Every citizen of Pakistan has the right to hold opinions and express the same,” he added. He said TV broadcast was being monitored by the Pemra and after the impugned amendment the TV broadcasters fell within the domain of amended ordinance.

He contended that the respondent promulgated the PECA ordinance with mala fide intention and ulterior motive just to harass and blackmail the opposition as well as public at large. He also contended that the motive behind the promulgation of this ordinance is to attack independence of judicial system as well as constitutional jurisdiction of the judges.

The counsel further added that under the impugned ordinance the definition of aggrieved person has been changed to achieve certain “goals” as any person either an informant or a complainant can file a complaint under the new ordinance.

“Due to the said amendment, the proxy litigation will increase which will ultimately burden the courts as well as prosecution”, he added. He further said as per Section 44 of the ordinance the judges are bound to submit their monthly report not only to higher forum as well as to the secretary law who would recommend the high court to take action against the judge.

He said articles 199 and 184 (3) conferred upon the superior courts the power and jurisdiction to examine the constitutionality of executive and the legislative actions. He argued that the judiciary has a duty to review legislation which breached any provision of the Constitution, hence the petition on behalf of public for violation of fundamental rights can be entertained by this court. He, therefore, prayed the court to suspend the ordinance till final decision of the petition.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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