IHC turns down judge’s review plea in child maid torture case

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Zubair Qureshi

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday turned down the former judge’s plea in housemaid’s torture case for review of the decision by a single bench on May 16. He was seeking suspension of the decision wherein he and his wife were indicted.
While turning down the plea, a division bench led by Justice Aamer Farooq issued notices to the state and other respondents for Monday (May 22).
The bench was hearing a review petition filed by the OSD Additional District and Sessions Judge, Raja Khurram Ali Khan, and his wife, Maheen Zafar, challenging the framing of charges against them by a single bench of the IHC.
A single bench of the IHC while ruling that the application for compounding the offence with the parents of the minor was not maintainable indicted the suspects and directed the prosecution to produce witnesses and evidence from the next date of hearing i.e. May 19. The suspects pleaded ‘not guilty’. On Thursday, however Khan through his counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi and Sohail Akhtar filed the review petition and requested the court to suspend the May 10 decision. He cited the minor through her parents and state as respondents in the case.
In the decision, the single bench had noted that the provisions of law impose a duty upon the court to consider the details of the case, nature of the offence and benefit of the compounding, even the style of crime and the manner in which the offence have been committed. The court observed that “if the court is of the view that the incident causes terror and sensation in the society or is cruel from its appearance, the court may not agree to compounding of the offence.”
“The alleged incident gives a brutal, cruel picture as well as causes terror and sensation in the society,” the judge stated in the order dismissing compromise between the parties.
The judge said that it was State who performed its duties and taken care of the minor since the time of the registration of the criminal case till now and, therefore, compromise could not be accepted at this stage. The court has termed the application requesting to accept the compromise between the parties “pre-mature” at this stage and dismissed it. Abbasi said that the above grounds were not tenable because heinous, brutal and sensation can only be seen in the light of punishment provided for the offence and, admittedly, no offence is containing more than three years punishment. “There is no question of sensation and terror,” he stated. The court, however, did not agree and issued notices to other parties for Monday.