LAHORE: Mr Justice Shaukat Ali of the West Pakistan High Court declared that although the superior courts have the sacred duty to protect the lives and liberties of the citizens of the State and to see that no one suffers loss of life or liberty safeguarded under the laws of the country, they have to act within the area allocated to them [Feb 10].

His Lordship was repelling an argument raised in a petition for quashment of proceedings now within the domain of the Martial Law authorities. It was urged that Article 2 of the President’s Order 3 of 1969 was ultra vires Article 6 of the Provisional Constitution Order and that the High Court has jurisdiction to examine orders passed by ML authorities which are in excess or without jurisdiction. It was further contended that the facts of the case did not constitute an offence and the order of ML authorities to entrust the case to a military court would not advance any justice. ...

After surveying various authorities cited at the Bar, His Lordship observed that the President’s Order was an emergency legislation but it was settled that enactment of this character was to be interpreted as far as possible in conformity with the fundamental canon of interpretation of a statute in such a manner as to promote the object or the main purpose of the enactment.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2020