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Home Critical Analysis/Archives ERROR AT THE APEX
On The Way To Supreme Court
Challenge on Constitutional Grounds
Mirza Khurshid Ahmad
The Province of Punjab
The year 1989 was the year of Centenary Thanks-Giving Celebration of Ahmadis. The residents of Rabwah town, the Headquarter of the Ahmadiyya Movement, also made preparations for Centenary Thanks-Giving Celebration. The Celebrations were prohibited by a prohibitory order of the District Magistrate under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The order prohibited the following acts:
Illumination of buildings and premises;
Erection of decorative gates;
Holding of processions and meetings;
Use of loudspeaker or megaphone;
Raising of Slogans;
Exhibition of badges, buntings and banners etc;
Distribution of pamphlets and pasting of posters on the walls and wall-writings;
Distribution of sweets and service of food
Any other activity directly or indirectly which may incite and injure the religious feelings of Muslims.
Mirza Khurshid Ahmad and others challenged this prohibitory order in the High Court by a Writ Petition. The challenge was made on the ground that under the code of criminal procedure the resident magistrate could not pass a prohibitory order of this kind and in any case any such order could not, under the text of the law, remain operative for more than two months. It was also contended that the order of the District Magistrate violated the fundamental right of religious freedom. The pivotal question addressed was purely legal and Constitutional one i.e. whether the centenary celebrations and the activities prohibited could be banned under section 144 Cr.PC.
A learned single Judge of the Lahore High Court dismissed the Writ Petition which was reported as Mirza Khurshid Ahmad and others versus the province of Punjab (PLD 1992 Lahore page 1). This judgment was also challenged in the Supreme Court and leave to Appeal was granted. The case of Mirza Khurshid Ahmad was also ordered to be heard along with other cases involving the same Constitutional questions.
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