ISLAMABAD - State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry Monday told the Supreme Court that he never intended to commit contempt of court.

While recording his statement, Talal said he would produce his defence, on which the court directed him to submit evidence, besides furnishing list of witnesses for his defence till May 23.

The state minister recorded his statement before a three-judge bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

On March 15, the top court indicted PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry for allegedly committing contempt of court in his two speeches delivered on January 24 and January 27, 2018.

Talal Chaudhry had allegedly incited the masses during a public gathering of PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif to oust the idols of PCO judges from the Supreme Court.

During the course of hearing, Justice Gulzar observed the tone and words used by Talal Chaudhry fall under the category of contempt.

At the outset of the hearing, advocate Kamran Murtaza, representing Talal Chaudhry, prayed to the bench to show restraint as it has always shown such magnanimity. Justice Gulzar, however, said the statement under Section 342 of CrPC has to be recorded.

Talal Chaudhry in his statement stated the inference drawn from the speech and press talk was incorrect, adding the press talk on January 24 in Faisalabad was edited, manipulated and many of the sentences were omitted.

He said his televised speech of January 27 was also incorrect, misreported, manipulated and out of context. “In my speech of January 27, I did not quote anything about judges and court,” he said.

On a court query regarding attribution of judges to idols of the PCO judges, Talal Chaudhry admitted these sentences were spoken by him, but the reference to the context was not brought on record.

“I have not committed contempt of court. The word PCO used in the speech is part of history, the reference to PCO was merely symbolic and it was being maintained in previous speeches during lawyers’ movement and this aspect has also been dealt with in Charter of Democracy,” he said.

Justice Gulzar told Chaudhry that this is not a platform for making speeches, it is a judicial forum.

During recording of the statement, Talal Chaudhry denied he attempted to scandalise the courts. “I have made thousands of speeches, but any institution or opponent never issued any legal notice to me. I am not a habitual offender,” he further stated, adding he had already requested the court to withdraw the notice on the ground that he did not intend to commit contempt.

He informed the bench that his opponents were running election campaign and spreading apprehensions among his voters that he will be disqualified for contempt of court. Justice Gulzar, however, observed the issue of election campaign was not before this court.

Talal Chaudhry will produce his defence witnesses tomorrow (Wednesday).

 

SYED SABEEUHL HUSSNAIN