Pakistan Supreme Court in Manzoor Elahi v. Federation of Pakistan(PLD 1975 SC 66). Relevant para therefrom reads as under thus:-
“Now, what is meant by a question of public importance. The term ‘public’ is invariably employed in contradistinction to the terms private or individual, and connotes, as an adjective, something pertaining to, or belonging to the people, relating to a nation, State or community. In other words, it refers to something which is to be shared or participated in or enjoyed by the public at large, and is not limited or restricted to any particular class of the community.
As observed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Hamabai Framjee Petit vs. Secretary for India-in-Council (ILR 39 Bom 279) while construing the words ‘public purpose’ such a phrase, ‘whatever else it’ may mean- must include a purpose, that is an object or aim, in which the general interest of the community, as opposed to the particular interest of individuals is directly and vitally concerned’. This definition appears to me to be equally applicable to the phrase ‘public importance’.”
Five Hon’ble Judges of Pakistan Supreme Court in the case of Watan Party v. Chief Executive (PLD 2003 SC 74)-
“The issues arising in a case, cannot be considered as a question of public importance. If the decision of the issues affects only the rights of an individual or a group of individuals. The issue in order to assume the character of public importance, must be such that its decision affects the rights and liberties of people at large. The adjective ‘public’ necessarily implies a thing belonging to people at large, the nation, the State or a community as a whole. Therefore, if a controversy is raised in which only a particular group of people is interested and the body of the people as a whole or the entire community has no interest, it cannot be treated as a case of public importance.”
Categories: Judicial Dictionary