On Peca Ord, executive’s mala fide intention evident: IHC

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Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Athar Minallah has remarked that since the government has not laid the Peca Amendment Ordinance before the Parliament it gives an impression of mala fide intention on the part of the executive.

The chief justice was hearing a set of petitions filed by Pakistan Broadcasting Association, Pakistan Federation Union Journalists, other media organizations and senior journalists challenging the Peca Amendment Ordinance on Wednesday.

At the outset of the hearing, the Additional Attorney General told the court that the Peca Ordinance was promulgated on Feb 18 and was put on official gazette on Feb 19.

On this, CJ Minallah remarked that the executive was required to lay the ordinance before the Parliament. It smacks of mala fide intention on the part of executive when it did not lay the ordinance before the parliament, the judge observed.

The AAG said that there was a timeline to present the ordinance before the parliament, it should necessarily be placed within that timeline. The executive acted as per the rules, he added.

He further told the court that the current political situation had put the Peca Ordinance matter on the backburner.

But the CJ remarked that the court could not put it on the backburner.

On this, the AAG said that there was likelihood that the government would withdraw this ordinance.

The CJ also inquired how could it be allowed to arrest some person under Section 20. He further remarked why not the court declared Sec 20 null and void.

The AAG said that nobody challenged the Sec 20. But the judge refuted him saying that there was some petition in which Peca Ordinance sections were challenged.

The CJ questioned the arrest of journalist Mohsin Baig under Sec 20 who gave reference of a book which had already been published.

 

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