- CJP says when parents fail to fulfil their duty the court has to take their place
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday took notice of a delay on the trial of the alleged torture of minor domestic worker Tayyaba in Islamabad, ordering a report from the Registrar Islamabad High Court over the incomplete proceedings.
The case of 10-year-old Tayyaba, a domestic worker at the home of former additional district and sessions judge Raja Khurram Ali and his wife Maheen, first came to light after photos of the child depicting alleged torture by her employers began circulating on social media.
Tayyaba was rescued from their residence with visible wounds on Dec 28, 2016, and an FIR (First Information Report) was filed against her employers a day later.
Ali reached a compromise with Tayyaba’s parents on Jan 2, 2017, and a day later the child was handed over to her parents. On Jan 4, however, the apex court took suo motu notice of the matter and directed police to investigate all aspects of the case.
The Supreme Court in a hearing on Jan 11 then observed that the role of a lawyer, Raja Zahoor Hassan, was of key interest with regards to an ‘illegitimate compromise’ reached between the suspects and the child’s family.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar had insisted there was no doubt that a criminal act had been committed in the case and directed police to investigate the preparation of the compromise deed as well as matters related to internal trafficking of child labourers.
After the police in their report had focused only on the child’s abuse and the possible involvement of the suspects, the SC expressed displeasure with the investigation of the case and referred it back to the IHC for further deliberation.
During Monday’s hearing, the CJP expressed his displeasure that the trial was still incomplete even after a year. He demanded to know why the case was facing delays.
Raja Khurram Ali’s lawyer informed the bench that the high court had dismissed the parent’s compromise request. To which, the bench enquired about the cases progress before the high court and was duly informed that statements of 10 witnesses had been recorded.
Turning down the counsel’s argument, The CJP said, “When parents fail [to fulfil their duty] the court has to take their place.”
The CJP asked whether Ali had been suspended from his post, to which the defence lawyer responded that his client was out on bail.
The court issued a notice to the advocate general Punjab and adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.
It is pertinent to mention here that an inquiry report into the case found Raja Khurram Ali Khan’s wife Maheen responsible for torturing the child maid Tayyaba, and Raja Khurram of indirect criminal negligence.
According to a local media outlet, the report prepared by DIG operations Kashif Alam stated that Tayyaba’s medical report confirmed the torture marks on her body. There are 22 torture marks on her body, it said.
The report raised the question of how it was possible that the Additional Sessions Judge remained unaware of torture being meted out to Tayyaba. He knew about the torture all along, the report stated.