IHC declares PECA Ordinance 2022 “unconstitutional”

PECA Ordinance 2022

Islamabad: Islamabad High Court on Friday declared the Pakistan Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act ordinance 2022 (PECA) as “unconstitutional.” A four-page short order was released by the Islamabad High Court which termed the ordinance ‘invalid and beyond a reasonable doubt.’

In the written verdict, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that the freedom of expression was a fundamental right and it reinforced all other rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The verdict added that free speech and the right to receive information were essential for the development, progress and prosperity of a society and suppression thereof was unconstitutional and contrary to the democratic values.

“The criminalization of defamation, protection of individual reputations through arrest and imprisonment and the resultant chilling effect violates the letter of the Constitution and the invalidity thereof is beyond a reasonable doubt,” the verdict said.

The verdict further added that the ordinance was promulgated in derogation of the constitution and the fundamental rights guaranteed thereunder, particularly articles 9, 14, 19 and 19-A.

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