ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday dismissed the petitions filed by two newly converted girls seeking protection after marrying of their free will, with an observation that they may approach the Sindh High Court.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that the petitions filed by Ghulam Ayesha and Dua Fatima were not capable of being decided by this court and therefore dismissed.

Their counsel, Umair Baloch, argued before the court that the parents of both girls were influential persons and they might cause harm to the girls and their spouses.

Girls seeking protection after marrying of their own free will advised to approach SHC

According to him, the father of Ayesha is a pundit, while Fatima is the daughter of a businessman. The counsel said the Hindu girls converted to Islam, married Muslim boys of their own free will and wanted to live the life of their choice.

He requested the court to direct the local police and the district administration of Khairpur to provide them protection.

When the court asked the counsel if they had approached the competent court in the province of Sindh, the explanation given by him did not satisfy the court regarding bona fides of the petitioners invoking IHC jurisdiction.

Justice Minallah observed: “The cause of action has arisen outside the territorial jurisdiction of this court. The petitioner instead of invoking jurisdiction of a competent court in the province of Sindh or approaching the administrative hierarchy, preferred to invoke the jurisdiction of this court under Article 199 of the Constitution.”

The court order noted: “Every citizen is entitled to protection by the state and Article 9 of the Constitution guarantees the fundamental right of security. In case the petitioners apprehend harm being caused by some private individuals then they should have approached a competent court or the administrative authorities in the province of Sindh for redressal of their grievances. It is settled law that a constitutional petition is not maintainable merely on the basis of apprehensions.”

As per the court order, the petitioners under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 can avail “efficacious remedy against a person who is likely to commit breach of peace to do any wrongful act”. Moreover, other provisions of the law also provide adequate remedies for ensuring that a person who is likely to commit a wrongful act is restrained from doing so.

Justice Minallah obs­erved that the petitioners instead of availing the adequate remedies provided under the law invoked the jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution and that too of a court which was not vested with territorial jurisdiction to the extent of issuing a writ relating to the acts of the private respondents arrayed in these petitions.

Subsequently, the court declared that “for the above reasons, these petitions are not justiciable before this court, and, therefore, accordingly dismissed”.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2019