Islamabad: Court quashes FIR against Rimsha Masih
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Iqbal Hameed ur Rehman on Tuesday quashed an FIR against Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl accused of committing blasphemy of the Holy Qura’an. The FIR No 303 dated August 16, 2012 under section 295-B of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) was registered at Ramna police station. Rimsha Masih had filed this case before the IHC on September 24, 2012 calling it illegal. In a detailed judgment the IHC judge in its concluding remarks observed “Before parting with the instant judgment, I would like to observe here that being followers of Islam we in all the affairs of life seek guidance from the Holy Qura’an and in the Holy book on a number of places Muslims/followers of Islam are warned to be careful and extraordinary careful while levelling such like allegations against any one and such directions are not applicable in respect of other Muslim alone, rather the same are applicable in respect of non-Muslim communities too. So, every Muslim should be extra careful while levelling such like allegations even against a non–Muslim.”
The judgment conceded to the conclusion of investigation agency that said that the petitioner/accused was completely unaware of religious feelings of Islam and religious feelings of Christianity.
While discussing the question whether the girl who has no feelings about any religion wilfully committed the said act, the judgment quoted from section 295-B that says ‘wilfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of Holy Qura’an or an extract there from’.
The court order says that a girl unaware about the affects of defiling of pages or extract from the Holy Qura’an could by no stretch of imagination be charged with the offence, especially when she has been found innocent by the investigation agency.
The court observed there is no mensrea on the part of the petitioner Rimsha Masih. Explaining mensrea the court said: “in jurisprudence, mensrea means the intent or mental condition which must concur with the act done and the consequences achieved”.
The allegations against the petitioner as levelled in the FIR is that she was found in possession of half burnt Namaz book along with ashes, which she was allegedly carrying towards garbage heap for disposal when she was intercepted by the complainant Malik Muhammad Hammad. The court observed that in ordinary life people of our society never bother to inquire from any person and particularly from a minor girl what she is carrying in the polythene bag etc, and what she intends to do with it. Taking the same incident into consideration, it reflects the intentions of the complainant in doing so. A prudent man in our society would never intercept a girl in such like situation, therefore, it manifests that the complainant had some ulterior motive. Therefore, the mala fide on part of the complainant is very much apparent from the facts and circumstances of the case. The complainant also failed to explain how he suspected that the girl was carrying burnt pages from the holy book enclosed inside the polythene bag, the judgment said.
The court observed that at the time of occurrence the accused was a juvenile as it is evident from the medical report that says: “her clinical appearance, built and height was examined along with radiological investigation and dentitions. On examination her age seems to be approximately 14 years. She appears un-educated and mental age appears below her chronological age.”
Furthermore, the police has recorded the statement of the witness, Hafiz Malik Muhammad Zubair, who categorically stated that Qari Muhammad Khalid Chishti Jadoon had planted the incriminating material i.e pages of Holy Qura’an and he has also been declared as an accused in this matter.
The court said that in the said circumstances, implication of petitioner/accused Rimsha seems to have been falsely manoeuvred by the complainant in furtherance of ulterior motives as Qari Muhammad Khalid Chishti Jadoon had also expressed the same in the preceding Friday’s sermon wherein he had urged the Christian community residing in the vicinity be expelled from the area.
The court said that counsel for the respondent had been arguing mainly on the grounds of technicalities of law and if the same were taken into consideration it would amount to defeating the purpose of dispensation of justice.
In given circumstances, continuation of proceedings of this case to the extent of Rimsha would be a futile exercise and great miscarriage of justice, as there is no likelihood of conviction of the petitioner. It would also be a sheer abuse of process of the court, which is not permissible under the law.
Allowing the petitioner to be grilled through a trial in the given circumstances would amount to allow the courts to be used as a tool for ulterior motives, the IHC CJ further observed. It is settled proposition of law that when there are extraordinary circumstances, a high court is duty bound to protect the life, liberty, honour and dignity of every citizen.
The court while quashing the FIR to the extent of Rimsha Masih disposed of the matter. Rimsha Mashih was represented by Abdul Hameed Rana advocate while Ch Abdul Aziz advocate represented the complainant Malik Muhammad Hammad. A deputy attorney general Tariq Mehmood Jahagiri was also there to represent the federation.