IHC rejects PTI’s plea against Section 144 in capital

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday dismissed a plea filed by PTI leader Asad Umar challenging the imposition of Section 144 in the capital, stating that decisions regarding the handling of rallies were taken by the executive authorities and a court was not equipped to substitute their assessments.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah took up the petition and dismissed it for being “meritless”.

The court order stated that no political party or group of persons could claim the right to hold rallies, protests or other assemblies in disregard to the principles and law highlighted by the apex court. “The power conferred under section 144 of Cr.P.C. is meant to be exercised solely in public interest. An unregulated rally, protest or assembly definitely offends the guaranteed rights of the citizens who are not associated therewith.

“It is a constitutional obligation of the executive authorities to protect the rights of the public while considering a request by a group or political party to hold a rally or to organize protest or assembly,” it said.

The order stated that PTI had a significant membership in both houses and had an “adequate remedy by way of tabling a Bill regarding the repeal of section 144 of Cr.P.C”.

“In case the petitioners intend to take out a rally, or to organise a protest or assembly, then they are advised to approach the competent authority for seeking permission in accordance with the principles and law enunciated by the august Supreme Court,” the IHC added.

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