ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday dismissed a plea assailing National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA) directives about conversion of three/four stars hotels into quarantine centres in the prevailing situation.
Representing petitioners, including Hotel Margala, Islamabad, before the court, Advocate Sikandar Bashir Mohammand contended that NDMA’s orders about vacation of the hotels was infringement of fundamental rights of his clients.
After hearing arguments of the counsel in the matter, the single-member bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah made it clear that federal government has taken several measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Terming the prevailing circumstances as an extraordinary situation, the chief justice said that it is settled law that the interest of public at large prevails over individual rights, adding the learned counsel, despite his able assistance, was not able to satisfy the court that the jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution ought to be exercised in the prevailing exceptional circumstances.
Dismissing the petitions, the CJ said that the court cannot exercise its discretionary jurisdiction in this matter of public interest saying, “It will inevitably amount to interference with the measures taken by the Authority and the federal government to meet the challenges that have arisen due to the extraordinary circumstances”.
While expressing satisfaction over exercising restraint in the current matter, the bench said, “It cannot be ruled out that interference by this court with the decisions of the authority and the federal government, may risk jeopardizing the interests of public at large and their fundamental rights.”
However, the chief justice observed, “In case the petitioner hotel suffers loss, it would not be without remedy because in such an eventuality remedies available under the law can be resorted to later”.