ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Friday did not accept Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chairman's explanations for uttering scandalous remarks against the judiciary and gave him until August 28 to resubmit a detailed reply, saying it was not a matter of personal ego but of the respect and dignity of the institution of judiciary.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Jawwad S Khwaja and Justice Azmat Saaed heard the contempt of court case. Imran Khan, who allegedly declared that judiciary's role in the general elections was 'shameful', presented verbal and written replies but the court deemed them ‘insufficient’.

The chief justice said: "The courts try their best to avoid asserting themselves in such situation but (they) are compelled to look into a matter where not only the dignity or respect of a judge but of the entire institution is involved, and the courts are constrained to call for an explanation... The explanations submitted therefore are rejected for not being satisfactory.”

Imran, instead of seeking an apology for his alleged remarks, submitted two written explanations, preceded by a verbal response, which all were rejected and the court asked his counsel Hamid Khan to file a comprehensive reply.

According to first explanation: "Imran Khan has neither committed contempt of court under the law or the constitution nor would even think of doing so and he has not started any campaign either to scandalise the court or to bring judges into hatred, ridicule or contempt. On the contrary, he has always struggled to uphold dignity and independence of the Supreme Court and the judiciary in general."

The second explanation said, "The press statement was made in good faith... wherein reference to the 'judiciary' was for the Returning Officers and/or District Returning Officers assigned to the election process... Mr Imran Khan has high respect and esteem for the Supreme Court and he has high expectations” from the court for redress of PTI’s election grievances.

The bench observed that the word 'shameful' that Imran Khan had used in his press conference “tantamount to abusing the courts, which should have been avoided”. It said if PTI chief thinks that by using the word ‘judiciary’ he was only referring to lower courts then he should know that under Article 175 of constitution the word judiciary is used for the Supreme Court and high courts.

The CJ said Imran was not an ordinary person so he must be careful in selecting the words. "Fair comments are the right of every citizen but to ridicule the judiciary is not permissible," he said. Justice Azmat Saeed told Hamid Khan that the explanations have disappointed him as he was expecting something else. "If PTI chairman had grievances then the remedy was available," he added.

Justice Jawwad remarked that individuals have no value if compared with the institutions. He said if 50,000 persons are working in some institution then there could be 50 rogue elements in it. Hamid Khan argued that dignity of court was very dear to them. There was no effort on the part of the Imran Khan to ridicule the court. The chief justice said they have did not say Imran should seek apology for criticising the judiciary.

Earlier, the PTI chief came on the rostrum and said that six years ago he had started struggle for the independent judiciary. He told the chief justice that he spent eight days in the jail for him. Justice Chaudhry said it was not only him but a large number of media persons, labourers, political workers and lawyers who offered sacrifices for restoration of free judiciary. Many of them even had to lose their jobs, but their struggle was not for the sake of a person but for an institution.

INP adds: Latter, speaking to media outside the SC building, Imran Khan said he stood by each and every word he said.