Public Interest Litigation: Economic Implications (A Critical Appraisal of Reko DIQ Case)
Public Interest Litigation (PIL), a discretionary constitutional jurisdiction is, indeed, a constitutional mandate for preserving socio-economic and legal justice in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan). Such PIL objectives are focused through the protection of fundamental rights of public importance under provisions of Article 184(3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973(Constitution, 1973). Though the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) has been vigilant while exercising judicial review powers as modus operendi for PIL, sometimes it is engaged, however, in the disguise of protection of fundamental rights, in the domain of other branches of the government. Even, such involvement has been extended to the matters of economic policies, which as a general principle of judicial review jurisprudence should be retrenched from judicial review jurisdiction. This trend has not only distorted the PIL objectives, it has influenced the socio-economic development which eventually affects the fundamental rights. Economic policies being of technical nature needs to be decided and supervised by the bodies concerned instead of the judicial intervention which is not appropriate. Judicial overlook of this fact may cause serious economic implications as it has occurred in the Reko Diq matter as decided in the case of Maulana v. Government (2013). The appraisal of exercising of PIL jurisdiction in this case demonstrates that 'judicial capital' is of no use, in the economic matters, and expanding its political capital in such matters eventually influences public interest. So, it is concluded that the matter relating to economic policies should be considered non-justiciable, and be denied from taking judicial cognizance.