IHC dismisses petition seeking ban on public gatherings due to COVID-19

IHC dismisses petition seeking ban on public gatherings due to COVID-19

Islamabad (Web Desk): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking ban on public and religious gatherings in the country due to spike in COVID-19 cases.

Announcing the verdict, IHC Justice Athar Minallah termed the petition non-maintainable.

The petitioner, in his plea, had said that even though there was a court judgment calling for implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) during the COVID-19 crisis, public gatherings were still going on unhindered.

Rejecting the petition, the IHC CJ asked the petitioner to go to the parliament and the executive to resolve the issue instead.

Justice Athar Minallah remarked that court can’t use additional constitutional power, therefore, the Parliament and executives should play role in uniting the nation to deal with COVID-19 challenges.

Earlier in the day, the IHC CJ asked why should the court interfere in such matters when societies are not fulfilling their duties.

No one is ensuring implementation on the court order as everyone is busy in doing politics, he added.

Justice Minallah said that general people are also not following the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to avoid spread of COVID-19. This act will badly affect poverty-stricken people, he went on to say.

Earlier, the IHC had ruled that the implementation of the decision of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) is mandatory in the event of a coronavirus crisis and legal action may be taken against those violating its decisions.

The court, while dismissing a petition challenging the ban on marquee halls during the second wave of Covid-19, the court endorsed the decisions of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) to ban the gathering of 300 persons, and public meetings across the country, including in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK).