Islamabad - Another vocal leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Talal Chaudhry has entered the danger zone right before the general elections as the Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict in a contempt of court case initiated against him.

The PML-N leader has been directed by the court to ensure his presence in the court during the announcement of the decision. However, the date for the announcement of judgment would be fixed later. On February 2, the SC issued a notice to Chaudhry for delivering disrespectful remarks against the judiciary and summoned him to court. However, Chaudhry denied and said, “I neither participated in a person specific discussion nor criticized the judges during public meeting or media talks.”

A three member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard a Suo Moto contempt proceeding against former State Minister Talal Chaudhry regarding his derogatory and contemptuous speeches and statements at a public gathering, which were telecasted by different T.V channels. Kamran Murtaza, the legal counsel of former state minister informed the court that actual notice was taken on a video clip annexed with a note put by the Supreme Court’s registrar while declaring the same as contemptuous.

“Chaudhry had only said that the disrespect of public’s mandate is the biggest disrespect in that clip”, Murtaza told, adding: “Later, 22 speeches were collected on the orders of chief justice but proceedings were initiated only on 2 speeches of a few minutes.”  He argued further that there were no reasons mentioned in the contempt of court notice served to his client while saying: “Only two TV channels were monitored out of total 117 channels while even Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) did not take notice of these speeches” Justice Gulzar Ahmed said that the court will not decide according to PEMRA but it will act in the matter according to its own law.

Kamran Murtaza recalled the events when the top court showed restraint and overlooked the contempt of court. He referred to the derogatory remarks of PML-N’s leader Nehal Hashmi and while declaring them inappropriate maintained that the court had showed extreme openheartedness in the said case.

While giving another example, he mentioned derogatory remarks of Pakistan Peoples’ Party leader Faisal Raza Abidi and referred towards extreme contemptuous language used by a religious leader, who staged weeks long sit in at Faizabad interchange in Islamabad. Kamran Murtaza requested the court to show restraint and overlook the speeches as it was done by the apex court in past. He also presented several old precedents when the court showed leniency in such matters.

However, the prosecution counsel objected and stated that Chaudhry had scandalised the judiciary and never contradicted his speeches and he also never apologised for the contemptuous remarks. He said that article 19 did not allow anybody to do make derogatory speeches. After hearing the arguments, the court has reserved its judgment in the case, which will be announced later.

Kamran Murtaza requested the court to announce the judgment after upcoming elections, which are scheduled to be held on 25th of July. However, while directing the accused to assure his presence in the court on the date of announcement, he remarked: “We are not giving a date at the moment and the same will be conveyed later. Earlier, the apex court had also disqualified former minister and PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz for five years in a contempt of court case.

The former minister was convicted and sentenced under Article 204 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 of the constitution.

The court ordered him to be “imprisoned” until the hearing adjourned. The verdict maintained that Daniyal Aziz humiliated the judiciary and judges. It added that he created hurdles in the provision of justice.