In a detailed judgment, the apex court declared the May 9 arrest of Imran Khan as ‘illegal’

View of Supreme Court building.  -app/file
View of Supreme Court building. -app/file
  • Imran’s arrest from court premises blocked his path to judicial relief: SC.
  • “The manner in which the arrest was made undermined the authority of the High Court.”
  • The PTI chief’s arrest was declared illegal for violating the dignity of the court.

Islamabad: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Friday issued a detailed judgment explaining the reasons behind its decision to declare as “illegal” the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust case. .

The former prime minister was arrested on May 9 from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) by paramilitary forces, triggering violent protests and attacks on civilian and military installations in the country.

Following Khan’s arrest, IHC CJ Farooq took cognizance of the case on the same day and summoned the Islamabad IGP and the Interior Secretary. Thereafter, the court summoned the NAB DG and the anti-corruption body’s prosecutor general to appear in person. After hearing arguments from all parties, the IHC declared the arrest of the ousted prime minister “legal”.

Following this, Barrister Ali Zafar, counsel for the former prime minister, filed a petition in the apex court on his behalf for Khan’s release.

On 11 May, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah heard Khan’s plea and directed the NAB to produce the PTI chairman before the court. instructed.

The apex court termed Khan’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case as “illegal” and ordered the authorities to release him “immediately”.

The apex court sent the PTI chief to the Police Lines guest house and ordered him to appear before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) by the next day, the same court which had declared his arrest valid, setting a precedent that no No person would do that. shall be arrested within the premises of the court.

In its detailed judgment, the Supreme Court observed that before reproducing the brief order dated 11.05.2023, it was important to note that during the course of hearing, this Court made it amply clear to all the learned counsel present that The only question before the statute was the legality of the mode and manner in which the arrest warrant dated 01.05.2023 was executed inside the premises of the High Court.

“This Court was not concerned with the validity of the arrest warrant or the proceedings being conducted by the NAB in the investigation against the petitioner in the AQT case. Those were matters which could be determined, if at all, by a competent forum in appropriate proceedings,” read the judgment.

Dignity, Sanctity and Security of Courts

The top court in its judgment wrote that it is an established principle that the dignity, sanctity and security of courts are inviolable and cannot be compromised for the benefit of all concerned stakeholders. The Supreme Court bench observed that breach of this assurance undermines effective delivery of justice by preventing people from seeking redressal of their disputes in courts.

“Therefore, in order to protect the right of the people to reach the Supreme Courts and get justice accordingly, Article 204 of the Constitution has empowered this Court (and the High Courts) to punish any person who interferes with or obstructs the process Has provided. Senior Courts in any way prejudicial to the determination of any matter pending before or after them,” read the judgement.

‘Violation of fundamental rights’

A three-judge SC bench observed that the arrest of the petitioner from the High Court premises after he had surrendered before the High Court to exercise its jurisdiction blocked his avenues for the judicial relief of anticipatory bail and thereby access to justice violated his fundamental right of access.

The apex court said that such action also interfered with the functioning of the High Court, interfered with the exercise of its legitimate jurisdiction and obstructed its process.

“The manner and manner in which the arrest was carried out, namely, breaking the doors, glass partitions and windows of the bio-metric verification room and abusing and injuring several lawyers, High Court staff and police personnel.” Reduced the authority of the High Court and breached its dignity. Consequently, the summary order dated 11.05.2023 declares the arrest of the petitioner to be void and illegal for violating the dignity, sanctity and security of the High Court,” read the judgement.

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