ISLAMABAD: The unanimous opinion of legal experts is that the additional sessions judge and the Justice of Peace Islamabad, who passed an order under section 22-A Cr.PC to register an FIR against journalists under the treason and terrorism acts, is unlawful and the JP didn’t fulfil the requirements of the law.
The JP has transgressed his authority by passing an order in the absence of an application moved to the police for lodging an FIR, criminal law experts spoke out when contacted by this correspondent.
Renowned criminal lawyer, Rizwan Abbasi when contacted, said, “The JP crossed his limits.” He said section 22-A, B of the Cr.PC provides remedy for aggrieved person in case there is some excess of the police authorities or the police refuse to lodge an FIR after receipt of information of a commission of a cognisable offence. When the application has not been submitted before the police, how can the Justice of Peace be approached, he asked.
The JP, in his order, indicated that the complainant didn’t approach the area police first and directly submitted a petition before the JP, he said. “Comments were sought from the SHO Margalla, who reported that no such application has been submitted by the petitioner as well as that the incident took place in another part of the country, so there is no jurisdiction to register an FIR,” the JP wrote in his order.
Renowned lawyer Athar Minallah, when contacted, said the court (JP) should not exercise such power in these circumstances when high courts have dismissed the same kinds of petitions. “I haven’t heard such orders in my career,” Minallah said.
Many prominent lawyers of the federal capital, including Malik Nasir, Advocate, Mohammad Mansoor, Advocate, Muhammad Arif, Advocate, Ziaur Rehman, Advocate Muhammad Imran, Advocate Rizwan Bagri and Muhammad Akhter Cheema Advocate expressed the same point of view about the biased order of the JP.
It is to be mentioned here that Additional Sessions Judge-VIII, /Judge of Peace (West) Islamabad, earlier accepting the petition filed by Arshad Mehmood Butt, son of Fazal Karim Butt, resident of Mustafa Apartments, Markaz G-8, Islamabad, ordered to lodge an FIR against journalists under the terrorism act.
Eminent lawyer Jam Asif Mehmood said the orders to register an FIR against journalists have been issued by the Justice of Peace, and not the judiciary. He clarified that the Justice of Peace is not part of the judiciary.
He said the order was issued on the complaint of a person who is not an aggrieved party, while the aggrieved party has already availed its remedy and approached the Ministry of Defence and Pemra. Hence, he said, this order was not maintainable and the impression was not right that an FIR was not being registered despite court orders.
Bureau Chief of Geo News Islamabad Rana Jawwad also added that Justice of Peace can be contacted only when the applicant has already approached police.