SC Justice Athar Minallah dissenting note creates a new controversy

SC Justice Athar Minallah dissenting note creates a new controversy

“The written order relating to the hearing held on 23.02.2023 included a separate note of Yahya Afridi, J, who had dismissed the petitions on the ground of maintainability. The reasoning recorded in the short order was persuasive and I had no hesitation in concurring with the decision regarding dismissal of the petitions. I had reiterated my decision by recording my note in the order dated 24.02.2023.

I have had the privilege of reading the detailed reasoning recorded by my learned brothers, Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Jamal Khan Mandokhail, JJs and I agree with their opinion, particularly regarding the final outcome of the petitions and the suo motu assumption of jurisdiction by a majority of 4 to 3 because this was the understanding in the meeting held in the anteroom on 27.02.2023. It is noted that I had not recused nor had any reason to dissociate myself,” read the note.

Justice Minallah further said it was explicitly observed that the power conferred under Article 184(3) of the Constitution must always be exercised with circumspection and utmost caution.

“The manner and mode in which these proceedings were initiated have unnecessarily exposed the Court to political controversies. It has invited objections from political stakeholders in an already polarised political environment. “

“The objections have also been submitted in writing. This obviously has consequences for the trust the people ought to repose in the impartiality of the Court. The Court, by proceeding in a premature matter, will be stepping into already murky waters of the domain of politics. It is likely to erode public confidence. The assumption of suo motu jurisdiction in itself may raise concerns in the mind of an informed outside observer. In the circumstances, the rights of litigants whose cases are pending before us would be prejudiced, besides eroding public trust in the independence and impartiality of the Court. This could have been avoided if a Full Court was to take up these cases,” he remarked.

He also took aim at the political parties of the country stating, “It is ironic and unimaginable for the political stakeholders to involve the Court in resolving political disputes which ought to have been settled in the forums created for this purpose under the Constitution. It is also alarming that the conduct of the political stakeholders and their political strategies would create unprecedented political turmoil and instability in the country”.