ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday rejected a petition filed against the recent increase in the price petroleum products in the country.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition filed by former Member of National Assembly Mian Muhammad Aslam and dismissed the same after hearing the arguments in this matter. Justice Athar observed in the judgment that in the instant case, nothing has been placed on record to indicate that a case is made out for interference by this court in a matter, which exclusively falls within the domain of the executive. The petitioner invoked the jurisdiction of this court because he is aggrieved on account of the recent increase in the prices of petroleum products by the Federal Government. He sought appropriate writs for declaring the increase in petroleum products as unconstitutional and a direction to the Federal Government to reduce the recently increased prices.

The IHC bench observed in the verdict that the pricing of a commodity involves several factors and is obviously directed by market forces. It has nexus with the economic conditions and policies of the executive.

“It thus falls within the exclusive domain of the executive branch of the State. The executive is led by elected representatives and they are accountable to the people of Pakistan for their policies and its consequences. No executive would willingly invite the wrath of the people by allowing increase in prices of essential commodities through deliberate or reckless decisions,” maintained the court.

It further said that it is also unimaginable that elected representatives would not want to keep the electorate content by ensuring availability of essential commodities at affordable prices. The Courts are neither equipped nor have the expertise to intervene or adjudicate upon matters relating to economic policies of the executive, particularly fixation of prices of essential commodities. 

It continued, “By entertaining the petition in hand, this Court would definitely be traveling beyond the limits prescribed by the Constitution and intruding in the domain of the executive without being competent to adjudicate the matter. The grievance of the petitioner is regarding an issue, which exclusively falls within the domain of the executive and the policies framed by the latter from time to time.”

Justice Athar maintained that the intervention by this court could disturb the equilibrium contemplated by the Constitution and this Court has no reason to doubt that the executive would be oblivious of the hardship faced by the general public because it is led by chosen representatives of the people.

He added, “We must, therefore, trust the elected representatives and their bonafides in formulating policies unless it can be demonstrably shown otherwise.”