LAHORE: Justice Jawad Hassan of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday asked a petitioner’s counsel to legally assist him as to how the court had the jurisdiction to ban political gatherings.
The judge also directed the counsel to come up with arguments on the maintainability of the petition since the petitioner was not an aggrieved person.
However, the judge expressed concern on the violation of Covid-19 SOPs by the citizens in general. He also noted that marriage ceremonies had been held during the pandemic.
Justice Hassan made it clear that the Constitution allowed every citizen lawful assembly.
The judge would resume hearing on Wednesday (today).
The petitioner through counsel Nadeem Sarwar asked the court to direct the government authorities to restrain the PDM from holding public gatherings and protests.
The petitioner also asked the court to order the government to take action against the opposition parties violating the laws and Covid-related SOPs.
In a similar petition before Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi, a report filed on behalf of deputy secretary primary & secondary healthcare department said as a guiding principle, mass gathering may not be allowed in districts where cases were on the rise and Covid-19 test positivity rate was above five per cent.
It said the mass gatherings had substantial political, cultural, social and economic implications, but such crowded activities increased coronavirus transmission risk manifold.
“Political gatherings may be categorised as very high risk gatherings. These gatherings have an uncertain profile and behaviour of participants is categorised as very high risk gathering,” the report added.
The judge adjourned further hearing for Wednesday (today).
Judicial Activism Panel chairman Advocate Azhar Siddique filed the petition asking the court to restrain all political parties from holding any type of gatherings for next three months at least, and a direction to the government to enforce the coronavirus SOPs.