IHC throws out plea seeking ban on Sharifs’ speeches

CJ Minallah says petitioner’s apprehensions about threats to Pakistan security ‘definitely misconceived’


Rizwan Shehzad   October 06, 2020
IHC. PHOTO: Islamabad High Court website

ISLAMABAD:

The top judge of the Islamabad High Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking a ban on the appearance of PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif and his brother, former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, on media and social media after the petitioner failed to give a plausible explanation for invoking the court’s jurisdiction.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah rejected the petition, declaring it non-maintainable after the petitioner, Aamir Aziz Ansari, and his counsel, Adnan Iqbal, failed multiple times to satisfy the court’s queries pertaining to the jurisdiction and how the speeches violated the petitioner’s fundamental rights.

“The tendency of invoking the constitutional jurisdiction of a high court in matters involving political content is certainly not in public interest and that too when the law provides for alternate remedies,” according to the written order.

In the order, Justice Minallah remarked, “It is settled law that certain pre-requisites are to be complied with before invoking the jurisdiction of a high court under Article 199 of the Constitution in order to seek a writ of mandamus [judicial remedy].

“In this case, the petitioner has not fulfilled the pre-requisites nor could show that a legal right exists in his person to seek a writ of mandamus.”

It added that the counsel could not give a plausible explanation for invoking the jurisdiction of the court when an alternate remedy was available to the petitioner under Section 26 of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002.

“The learned counsel was also not able to satisfy this court that which of the fundamental rights of the petitioner guaranteed under the Constitution had been violated requiring enforcement through issuance of a writ,” Justice Minallah added.

On the counsel’s argument that the petitioner was concerned because the security of Pakistan was being threatened, Justice Minallah remarked, “The security of Pakistan is not frail nor can be threatened by mere political rhetoric.”

He remarked, “The people of Pakistan, through their chosen representatives, have the will and resolve to safeguard the security of Pakistan. The security of Pakistan is surely not dependent on the issuance of a writ by this court.”

He said that the petitioner’s apprehensions regarding threats to security of Pakistan were “definitely misconceived”.

In the order, Justice Minallah noted that such petitions unnecessarily involve courts in controversial matters which otherwise can be agitated before other appropriate forums. “It also causes miscarriage of justice to the legitimate litigants because adjudication of their cases is delayed,” the judge stated.

“Politically motivated petitions inevitably make the administration of justice, including the courts, controversial because politics inherently is adversarial in nature,” Justice Minallah continued, adding that it is the duty of every enrolled advocate as well as the respective bars to ensure that the courts and the administration of justice are seen as impartial and neutral arbitrators of disputes.

“As a corollary, it is their duty to discourage litigants from bringing to the courts unnecessary litigation having political content, particularly when the law provides for remedies and appropriate forums,” he added.

When the case was taken up, the petitioner’s counsel argued that Sharif has been convicted by a competent court and that he has also been declared an absconder, adding that Shehbaz Sharif, who is the leader of the opposition in the lower house of parliament, is facilitating his brother to malign the state institutions and to bring them into disrepute.

He had sought court’s help to refrain Sharifs from ‘defaming’ state institutions in any manner whatsoever and directions for Pemra to remove “hate-speeches” and not to air the same in the future on electronic and social media.

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