ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court registrar’s objections to a petition against contesting elections on more than one seat were challenged on Wednesday, with the petitioner arguing that his case should be heard because it was in the public interest.
In his appeal before the apex court, Islamabad resident Muhammad Anwar Mughal has sought to strike down objections from the registrar’s office, which had returned the petition on Jan 4.
Mr Mughal pleaded that his petition had raised a matter of public importance since it was public money being spent by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on by-elections after MNAs and MPAs won multiples seats and later vacated all but one.
He said that the amount lavishly spent on holding by-elections could be spent on rehabilitating flood-hit people, building new schools and health centres in remote areas, etc.
Citing the 2016 Chaudhry Muhammad Akram versus Registrar Islamabad High Court case, the petition said the Supreme Court had held that any matter directly and vitally concerning the general interest of the community or the public at large fell within the definition of public importance.
The appeal contended that the issue of elections on multiple seats highlighted through the petition related to extravagant use of public money, and therefore it concerned the interest of the general public whose hard-earned money was being spent lavishly.
Likewise, in another human rights case of 2019 regarding the appointment of the Pakistan Television Corporation’s managing director, the apex court had held that when public money was being spent causing loss to the public exchequer, it became a matter of public importance, the appeal contended.
In its objections, the registrar’s office had stated that the petitioner had invoked an extraordinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution for the redressal of an individual grievance, which was not permissible in terms of judgment.
The petitioner had also not pointed out what questions of public importance in the present case were involved with reference to enforcement of any of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, it said.
Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2023
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