Friday January 27, 2023

SHC dismisses pleas against induction of MNAs facing criminal charges into cabinet

By Our Correspondent
May 01, 2022

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has dismissed as not maintainable a petition against the induction of members of Parliament in federal cabinet facing corruption and criminal cases before courts of the law.

The petitioner, Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi, had filed a petition with the SHC challenging induction of several members of Parliament facing corruption and criminal charges before a competent court of law in federal cabinet.

He submitted that several MNAs belonging to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party including Prime Minster Shahbaz Sharif, Khurshid Shah, Rana Sanaullah, Abdul Qadir Patel and others were facing criminal charges and were subject to different inquiries in corruption cases through anti-graft agencies, due to which they could not be members of the federal cabinet.

A division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh and Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed inquired the petitioner with regard to any violation of the law in the inclusion of those MNAs in the federal cabinet, to which he was at a loss to point out any violation of law.

To another query about the locus standi of the petitioner and how he qualified as an aggrieved person in the matter, he merely reiterated that he had come forward in the public interest.

The bench observed that the case advanced was not justiciable under the Article 199 of the Constitution.

The high court observed that it was a well-settled principle that in order to satisfy the requirements of an aggrieved person in public interest litigation under the Article 199 of the Constitution, the petitioner was to at least disclose a personal interest in the performance of a legal duty owed to him, which if not performed would result in the loss of some personal benefit or advantage or curtailment of a privilege in liberty or franchise.

The high court observed that the requirement of the aggrieved person was conspicuously absent in the instant case and dismissed the petition as not maintainable.

The same bench also dismissed a petition against state visit set to be made to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by a delegation headed by the prime minister.

The petitioner submitted that an inordinately large number of persons were members of the delegation, which is a drain on the public exchequer.

He asked for an investigation to be made and a direction to be issued for the recovery of the amount spent on the visit from the prime minister personally. He also requested the court to direct all the members of the delegation to disclose and account for their personal assets.

The SHC, after hearing the arguments of the petitioner, observed that the petition was founded merely on news reports besides the case advanced was even not justiciable under the Article 199 of the Constitution. The court dismissed the petition as not maintainable.