At times, public interest litigation (PIL) petitions turn into a public nuisance. The latest example in this regard is the disposal of Amina’s Malik petition seeking registration of a first information report (FIR) against the participants of Aurat March. Thankfully, the Additional District and Sessions Judge disposed of the petition that was seeking registration of fir against the march. However, the court should have suggested the petitioner approach the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) rather than ordering.

The petition that was intended to register an FIR against the participants of the Aurat March qualifies as an example of frivolous litigation. It is unfortunate to note that the idea of PIL has become a farce in Pakistan. Obscure lawyers and politically motivated people take out improbable litigation against all kind of subjects only to get media attention. Getting a headline with their name in the news is the only motivation for such people to file petitions in this regard. And most of such petitions suffer the same fate, which the petition of Ms Malik has suffered. They are thrown out and dismissed. It is not wrong to say that such petitions waste the precious time and resources of the courts.

It is sad to note that the majority of filers of PIL can be easily categorised as frivolous petitioners. According to one statistical report, around 1.8 million cases are now pending in the courts across the country. Nevertheless, it is about time that the courts start fining people for frivolous litigation such as the one filed by Ms Malik. The courts have the power to do so. They do fine people. But as suggested earlier, the amount of fine that the courts impose against such petitions is failing in putting a stop to frivolous litigation. The courts should impose hefty penalties on habitual petitioners, as this is the only way out to discourage the malice of frivolous litigation.