ISLAMABAD    -  The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday castigated former federal minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed for bringing political matters before the court and warned him of ‘exemplary fine’ if he moved the similar petition again. A single bench of IHC com­prising Chief Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s petition, challenging the appointments of federal ministers and special advisors to the prime minister as their total number ex­ceeded the prescribed strength of federal cabinet.

The IHC bench’s judgement said, “The petition is frivolous and ought to have been dismissed with im­position of exemplary costs. How­ever, the Court exercises restraint on account of respect for the Maj­lis-e-Shoora (Parliament) because the petitioner is one of the chosen representatives.”

It further said, “The Court is not inclined to exercise its extra ordi­nary discretionary jurisdiction and, therefore, the petition is dismissed in limine.”

In his petition, Rasheed invoked the constitutional jurisdiction vested in this court under Article 199 of the Constitution, seeking a writ to declare that respondents no 4 to 75 have been appointed as federal ministers and ministers of state in violation of Article 92(1) of the Constitution. The IHC bench mentioned in its judgment that it has been admitted in the peti­tion that under Article 92 of the Con­stitution, the Prime Minister is em­powered to nominate not more than fifty members of the Majlis-e-Shoo­ra (Parliament) to form the Cabinet and it has been unequivocally admit­ted in paragraph 8 of the petition that the present Cabinet consists of thirty four Ministers and seven Ministers of State. It added that likewise, it is not disputed that four Advisors have been appointed on the advice of the worthy prime minister and the composition of the cabinet is definitely not in vio­lation of the restrictions imposed by the Constitution.

The court continued that it was further declared that special assis­tants were not members of the cab­inet, and that there was no restric­tion regarding the number of such appointments. Justice Athar said that it is ironic that instead of set­tling political disputes in the Maj­lis-e-Shoora (Parliament), political leaders prefer to invoke the jurisdic­tion of the constitutional courts. The bench added, “This tendency has un­dermined the prestige, sanctity and effectiveness of the Majlis-e-Shoo­ra (Parliament). Simultaneously, it unnecessarily drags the courts into controversies of political nature.