AJK High Court disqualifies PM Sardar Tanveer Ilyas for contempt
HC pronounces sentence despite prime minister’s apology over remarks against judiciary
April 11, 2023 03:16 PM
The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) High Court Tuesday rejected the apology of Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas for his statements about the judiciary and disqualified him for contempt of court, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Both the AJK Supreme Court and High Court had summoned the prime minister for the hearing of a suo motu notice taken to seek clarification from him on his statement regarding the judiciary.
The AJK HC full court bench pronouncing its verdict disqualified Tanveer Ilyas from being a member of the legislative assembly for contempt of court.
Justice Chaudhry Khalid Rasheed read out the judgement of the AJK High Court full bench, sentencing the AJK premier till the rising of the court.
On Monday, the superior courts of AJK had separately served notices on Ilyas to explain his position with regard to his derogatory remarks about the superior judiciary in his speeches at public meetings.
The notices, served through his principal secretary, asked Ilyas to separately appear before the high court and the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
At a function in Islamabad over the weekend, Ilyas had indirectly blamed the judiciary for affecting the functioning of his government and interfering in the domain of the executive through the grant of stay orders.
He had particularly referred to a $15 million Saudi-funded education sector project, saying it had been in a limbo because the court had issued a stay order on it. Similarly, he had also taken strong exception to the “de-sealing by the courts of tobacco factories involved in tax evasion to the tune of billions of rupees”.
On Tuesday, producing the clipping of the premier’s speech in its order, the AJK court said that the matter was discussed in a meeting of the judges’ council “in view of its seriousness” and it was unanimously decided “it could not be overlooked because the dignity and authority of the courts was on stake and nobody could be allowed to undermine it”.
“However, before issuing contempt notice we are intended to ask the prime minister to appear in person and explain his position on the referred news,” it added.
The high court order had almost identical observations.
“Prime Minister Tanveer Ilyas has directly threatened the superior judiciary and the language of his speech at a public meeting is highly derogatory, improper and indecently worded,” the order said.
Not only the latest statement, but his “previous track record from several months is [also] objectionable, unbecoming and improper,” it added.
The order said the judges’ council of the high court had unanimously decided not to leave the matter unattended “simply by shutting [its] eye from contemptuous and derogatory statement of the person who is at the helm of affairs.”
“By showing magnanimity and judicial restraint, we have opted, in the beginning of the proceedings, to serve a notice on the prime minister to personally appear before the full court to explain his position.”
After the verdict was announced, Ilyas — who was supposed to appear before the AJK apex court — drove straight to the Prime Minister’s House along with members of the cabinet.
Earlier, the AJK prime minister had reached Muzaffarabad from Islamabad by a helicopter to appear before the High Court and then the Supreme Court.
The AJK ministers, Muzaffarabad divisional and district administration, and a large number of PTI workers had welcomed him.
The High Court and the Supreme Court had summoned Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan for clarification on his statements regarding the judiciary.
The AJK prime minister in a speech had drawn the attention of the courts to the stay orders given by the higher judiciary.
For the first time in the history of the state, both the Supreme Court and the High Court summoned a prime minister on the same day.
The prime minister agreed to appear before the honorable courts the other night after a long consultation with legal experts.
On the occasion, a large number of PTI workers had gathered outside the High Court. Prime Minister Tanveer Ilyas Khan reached the High Court in the form of a rally.
The AJK prime minister had been given a summon notice by both the courts.
“AJK Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas has been targeting the Supreme Court in public places for the past few months,” it had been stated in the notice.
“He threatened the judges and spoke rudely about them. His statement has appeared in social media and newspapers. An emergency meeting of the council of judges was convened to discuss the matter,” it had been added.
“It was decided by an overwhelming majority that this matter cannot be ignored as the honour of the judiciary is at stake. No one can be allowed to undermine the authority of the judiciary. Before the notice of defamation, the prime minister is asked to appear in person and clarify his position,” it had been said.
Reporter Safeer Raza Mughal