Full Court Sees Plot Against Judiciary
The full court meeting last week ruled that the interview of real estate tycoon Malik Riaz aired by a private TV channel was clearly indicative of a pre-planned conspiracy against the judiciary to scandalise the court and bring the court and judges into hatred, ridicule or contempt.
The full court meeting was held under Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The Supreme Court registrar briefed the meeting about Malik Riaz's interview to a private TV channel and the off-air conversation between two anchorpersons and the real estate tycoon that was available on YouTube.
The meeting observed that the footage of the off-air conversation seemed a planned conspiracy to shake the public faith and confidence in the judiciary and undermine the dignity and prestige of the court. The meeting observed that a bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain in the judgment passed in the suo motu case had also bemoaned the role of some anchorpersons in the matter and in particular the lack of due diligence to scrutinise the material and ascertain the true facts of the case.
"It further tends to prejudice the determination of pending cases before the Supreme Court. It therefore warrants action under Article 204 read with Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003," the meeting ruled.
Separately, the footage of off-air conversation was procured and parts of it were shown to members of the full court. Chief Justice asked critical questions from the Pemra chief, particularly about the role of Pemra in preventing the telecast of contemptuous and scandalous material against the judiciary.
"What action has the authority taken, and what is the media regulatory framework?" the CJ asked the chairman. Justice Iftikhar also asked the Pemra chief whether he was aware of what was being broadcasted on TV channels and whether there was any violation in Malik Riaz's interview.