SC allows Chaudhry's lawyer to submit a detailed response to the charges after examining footage.

Dawn.com

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to indict Minister of State for Interior Mohammad Tallal Chaudhry in a contempt of court case on March 14.

A three-judge SC bench comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Faisal Arab, had taken up the matter following the minister’s alleged derogatory and contemptuous statements and speeches against the apex court at PML-N public gatherings.

Chaudhry's counsel Kamran Murtaza claimed during the hearing that the CDs containing clips of his client's speeches were provided to him late on Wednesday, adding that he will submit a detailed response after examining the CDs.

Examine: What qualifies as anti-judiciary speech?

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Rana Waqar, however, contended that the CDs were handed over on time and, "it is a different matter that the lawyer saw them late."

Justice Afzal offered to examine the first reply submitted by Chaudhry, in which he had pleaded before the court to withdraw the contempt charge.

But Tallal's counsel argued that the three-page reply was "interim" and that he should be allowed extra time to submit a detailed response after analysing the CDs.

Murtaza claimed that there could be discrepancies between the transcript of speeches and the CDs.

The court then allowed the minister to submit a detailed response, but asked him to ensure his presence in the court at the next hearing.

AAG Waqar informed the bench that he would not be able to appear in the court on March 15 due to personal engagements. The court subsequently changed the date of indictment to March 14.

During his speech at PML-N's rally in Jarranwala in January, Chaudhry had said: "There was an era when the Kaabah was full of idols. Today, the judiciary, which is the country's highest institution, is also full of PCO [Provisional Constitution Order] idols."

"Mian Nawaz Sharif, throw them out, throw him out of the court. They will not give justice but will continue their injustices."

The court had recently decided to indict another PML-N leader and Minister for Privatisation Daniyal Aziz over his allegedly contemptuous statements on March 13.

Earlier on February 1, the apex court had sent PML-N loyalist Nehal Hashmi to jail on contempt charges for a month. Days after he was released from Adiala Jail, the SC issued another contempt of court notice against Hashmi for his latest "inflammatory" speech targeting the judiciary.

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