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Pakistan

IHC declares PECA Ordinance 2022 unconstitutional

  • Chief Justice Athar Minallah announces reserved judgment
Published April 8, 2022

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared on Friday the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Amendment (PECA) Ordinance 2022 "unconstitutional", Aaj News reported.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, in his reserved judgment, turned down the PECA law.

"PECA ordinance was "promulgated in derogation of the Constitution and the fundamental rights guaranteed thereunder, particularly Articles 9, 14, 19 and 19-A". The jurisdictional preconditions were also not in existence," the order read.

"The PECA and promulgation thereof is declared as unconstitutional, invalid beyond reasonable doubt and it is, therefore, struck down."

Alvi promulgates PECA Ordinance 2022

In February, President Dr Arif Alvi had promulgated the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Amendment (PECA) Ordinance 2022 and Election Act (Amendment) Ordinance. As per PECA Amendment Ordinance, the definition of a person has been expanded to include any company, association, institution or authority.

Section 20 of the ordinance has been amended to increase the sentence from 3 years to 5 years in case of attack on the identity of any person.

The person filing the complaint will be the aggrieved party, his representative or guardian. The offence has been declared admissible and it will be non-bailable. The trial court will decide the case within six months and will submit the details of the case to the high court every month.

Legal fraternity says PECA Ordinance 2022 'reflection of extremism'

Meanwhile, Pakistan's legal fraternity has strongly condemned and rejected the Ordinance, with the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP) saying that it "is a classic example of authoritarian mindset and a reflection of extremism".

In separate statements, the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA), Karachi, and the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) also condemned the "black law", calling it draconian.

Legal fraternity says PECA Ordinance 2022 'reflection of extremism'

"The SCBAP certainly believes that redressal of fake news issue needs immediate attention but any such remedy, which is contrary to the Constitution and against personal liberty, must not be allowed.

"Undeniably, constructive and positive criticism coupled with freedom of speech/expression is a cornerstone for the betterment of society like ours; however, attempts like the PECA Ordinance will never allow our growing society to flourish at its full potential."

Also read PECA Ordinance: a weapon against freedom of expression?

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