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Apex court indicts Talal Chaudhry in contempt of court case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday indicted Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader and State Minister Daniyal Aziz on charges of making contemptuous and derogatory remarks against the judiciary.

The three-judge bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, of the apex court heard the contempt case filed against the ruling party leader.

The bench read out charges against Chaudhry in the courtroom. Subsequently, the minister pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the charges against him.

Chaudhry was indicted under Article 204 of the country’s constitution, which provides for punishment of a person for contempt of court in accordance with law.

The bench then adjourned the hearing till March 27.

At the last hearing on March 8, the bench had expressed extreme displeasure over non-submission of a reply by the minister and decided to indict him in the next hearing.

The court had given the minister a show-cause notice to explain why he may not be proceeded against for committing contempt of court by making contemptuous and derogatory speeches, maligning the judiciary.

During the court proceedings at last hearing, Chaudhry’s lawyer Kamran Murtaza complained that the CDs, having the recorded segments of inflammatory speeches, were provided much later and pleaded with the bench to grant defendant side time to submit a reply.

The bench had then ruled that the charges against the PML-N leader would be framed at the next hearing on and summoned Chaudhry to appear before the court in person.

The state minister was exempted from personal appearance before the court during a hearing on March 6 owing to his personal engagements.

Previously, the minister had submitted a reply and maintained that he was never indulged in mocking the judiciary, nor could he even think of committing contempt of court.

He claimed that his statement about the judiciary was taken out of context. He said he had never wittingly or unwittingly acted in a manner, which can be deemed as contempt of court.

The PML-N leader asked the apex court to provide details of his statement on the basis of which contempt proceedings were initiated against him.

He said every citizen has right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 of the Constitution.

Talal Chaudhry requested the court to quash contempt of court proceedings against him.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had taken a suo motu notice of the contemptuous statements given by the minister against the judiciary.

At PML-N’s Jarianwala public meeting, Talal Chaudhry bitterly criticized the judiciary, saying: “There was a time when the Kaabah was full of idols. Today, the judiciary is also full of PCO judges.”

He had asked the party chief to throw “those judges out because they will not do justice.”

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