JI challenges anti-terror act in SC

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Justice on Thursday, July 17, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The Jamaat-i-Islami fired its first salvo against the newly passed Protection of Pakistan Act (PPA) 2014 on Wednesday as it challenged the law as ‘ultra vires’ before the Supreme Court.

JI chief Sirajul Haq submitted a petition challenging the law through his counsel Taufiq Asif and Sheikh Ahsanuddin.

Following the JI’s challenge, the country’s top two legal associations, the Pakistan Bar Council and the Supreme Court Bar Association, are also said to be contemplating to file their own challenges to the new anti-terror law.

Jamaat to challenge Protection of Pakistan Act in court

In its petition, the JI contends that the PPA 2014 violates the fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens of Pakistan in Chapter 1, Part-II of the Constitution that deals with fundamental rights and principles of policy.

The petition alleges that the entire act was inconsistent and in negation of the fundamental rights provided in Articles 2-A, 4, 8, 9, 10, 10-A, 12, 14, 15, 19-A, 23, 24 and 25 of the constitution. The JI pleaded that if act of parliament infringed the fundamental rights of the citizens, it was open to judicial review by the Supreme Court.

Referring to clause 3(2a) of the PPA, the petition pleaded that no government official or any authority was above judicial review and, therefore, had no authority or jurisdiction to order any citizen to be shot on mere suspicion.

The establishment of special courts under the law is in violation of the principles laid down by the Supreme Court and, therefore, in violation of Articles 10 and 10-A of the Constitution that ensure a fair trial for all.

The legislation, in fact, is another attempt to subvert the principles laid down in the Mehram Ali case of 1998, where the Supreme Court had declared certain sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 to be unconstitutional and needing amendment.

The petitioner pleaded that parts of the law were also in contravention of important provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1898, such as like Sections 374, 426, 435, 439, 439-A, 491, 496, 497, 498 and 561-A and therefore inconsonance with the fundamental rights and any exception to these provisions would mean the negation of guaranteed fundamental rights and judgment passed by the superior courts.

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