ISLAMABAD    -   The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday accepted the petition of US citizen Cynthia D Ritchie seeking registration of rape case against Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Senator Rehman Malik and sent back her case to the lower court for further hearing.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah, hearing the petition moved by Cynthia through her counsel Imran Feroze Malik Advocate, set aside the order of Justice of Peace wherein he had rejected her petition seeking registration of case against Rehman Malik. 

Earlier, on August 5 a local court had dismissed a petition of the US blogger Cynthia D. Ritchie seeking registration of rape case against Senator Rehman Malik, after a police report termed the complaint baseless. 

The IHC bench noted in its verdict that a plain reading of the impugned order, dated 05-08-2020, unambiguously shows that the learned Ex-Officio Justice of Peace exceeded jurisdiction vested under the law.  

“It appears that the learned Ex-Officio Justice of Peace, while passing the impugned order had not taken into consideration the principles and law enunciated by the august Supreme Court,” added the bench. 

Justice Athar held, “In the light of the above discussion, this petition is allowed and the impugned order, dated 05-08-2020, is hereby set aside. The petition filed by the petitioner shall be treated as pending. 

The learned Sessions Judge, Islamabad (West) is expected to assign the matter to a designated Ex-Officio Justice of Peace, other than the judicial officer who had passed the impugned order, dated 05-08-2020.” 

During the hearing, the counsel for respondent contended that the learned Ex-Officio Justice of Peace was competent to direct the In-charge of Police Station to thoroughly investigate the allegations. 

He further contended that on the basis of such investigations, the Ex-Officio Justice of Peace was empowered to record his findings and dismiss the petition.  

The IHC bench added, “Scope of jurisdiction and powers of Ex-Officio Justice of Peace are confined to issuing appropriate directions for registration of a criminal case and to check the neglect, failure or excesses committed by the police authorities.”  

In her petition, the counsel stated that the petitioner moved an application against Rehman Malik before the Justice of Peace Islamabad with specific allegations of rape, life threats and threats of facing dire consequences and the matter was also reported to the Respondents SP Complainant and the SHO but till date no FIR whatsoever has been lodged. 

He said that upon which jurisdiction of justice of peace under section 22-A/B of CrPC was invoked but the petition was dismissed by the additional district and sessions (ADS) judge illegally and unlawfully.  

Therefore, he prayed to the court that instant petition may kindly be accepted and the order of Justice of Peace be set aside and the SP Complaint may graciously be directed to lodge the FIR in the best interest of justice.