HRCP expresses strong concern over passage of defamation law

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HRCP expresses strong concern over passage of defamation law
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HRCP expresses strong concern over passage of defamation law

Lahore: The Human Rights Commission (HRCP) has expressed serious concern over the proposed defamation bill tabled in the Punjab Assembly.

The Human Rights Commission has expressed concern over the defamation bill, saying that the content and text of the bill are troubling in several respects. Firstly, the Bill proposes a parallel structure for adjudicating defamation claims.

The HRCP has been rejecting special parallel judicial structures on the grounds that they are inconsistent with fundamental rights and other universally recognized principles of fair trial.

The declaration said that the establishment of defamation tribunals was proposed while the government was empowered to appoint judges on higher allowances and privileges than the existing subordinate judiciary, while thirdly, all defamation cases. have to be dealt with within a short period of 180 days.

read more: There will be 3 million damages for false news, defamation law presented in Punjab Assembly

According to the HRCP, the bill proposes that defamation tribunals on receipt of a defamation petition will be empowered to issue an interim order for payment of compensation up to Rs 30 lakh immediately without any trial. This will be a huge blow to freedom of expression and dissent. Most likely, such orders will be issued without following due process and ensuring a fair trial.

The Human Rights Commission said that fourthly, the draft law has created a special category of persons holding constitutional positions such as Prime Minister, Chief Justice and military chiefs and others. Defamation claims related to these categories will be heard by special one-member tribunals comprising a judge of the Lahore High Court. This provision is against the principle of equality of citizens and equality before law.

The HRCP expressed concern over the bill, saying that the bill was introduced in haste, five days is too short for any meaningful consultation with civil society and digital and mainstream media organizations, especially In the context of a complex legal proposal that will affect the entire system of opinion makers on online platforms.

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