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The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking increase in number of minorities’ reserved seats in the national and provincial assemblies.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan and comprising Justice Ayesha Malik, on Monday, heard Pakistan Interfaith League’s appeal against the Lahore High Court (LHC)’s verdict. The bench upheld the high court’s decision.

The petitioner’s counsel said that in 1985, General Ziaul Haq has reserved seats for the minorities in the National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies. He said in the last 37 years, the minorities population has increased manifold, adding the present reserved seats for the minorities are not sufficient as compared to their population.

Justice Ijaz said a constitutional amendment was required for the purpose, and that it could not order the parliament to do so. Justice Ijaz said the Supreme Court or the High Court could not direct the Parliament to amend the constitution or pass any specific law. He advised the counsel to approach the parliament.

The judge said the apex court or the high courts can strike down or interpret any law, but they cannot ask the parliament to legislate on any subject. He said that in the recent judgment on the Local Bodies, the Supreme Court asked the parliament to make law in light of the Article 140-A of the Constitution.

The counsel contended that though the women reserved seats in the parliament has increased from 20 to 60, adding since there had been a massive increase in the country’s population in recent years but no change in the minorities’ seats. Upon that Justice Ijaz remarked it was the parliament that has decided to increase the women seats.

Meanwhile, a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial, dismissed a petition filed by a student against his expulsion from a private school.

The lawyer representing the student argued that the school management cannot deny his client admission permanently on the account of misconduct.

However, Justice Qazi Amin said the teachers have a unique status in Pakistani society, adding teachers were the “best judges”.

Ahmed was kicked out of school for using foul language against teachers and students, as per the counsel.

“Raise your children better instead of pointing fingers at the teachers,” the judge added. He questioned the permits given to “all sorts of schools”, saying that the state had failed in fulfilling its responsibility.

Justice Amin said if the SC decides in the favour of the student then he will go and tell the school that the court has barred the teachers from scolding him. A teacher should not be considered an enemy for stopping the student from doing a bad thing, he added.

The chief justice said schools were established to discipline kids; otherwise, they could have been homeschooled. CJP Bandial added that parents were not happy with online classes as their children are becoming spoiled.

He said, “Had this happened in his class [during his school year], the kid would have been penalised, ending up with sore muscles as a result of punishment.” Justice Amin chipped in, saying they were able to become judges due to these punishments at schools.

This report was first published in Business Recorder on February 8, 2022.