2003 CLC 18




Per Aman Ullah Khan, J.

(a) Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, Articles 22(4), 25, 37 &38

….It may further be observed that for the purpose of justifiable classification, provisions or Article 25 have to be read with Articles 22(4), 37 and 38 of the Constitution. The view of the superior Courts has been consistent on the above proposition. Reliance is placed on case law Mst. Attiya Bibi and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others 2001 SCMR 1161. [p. 28]B

(b) Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, Article 25

The provisions of Article 25 of the Constitution, have been elaborated by his Lordship Mr. Justice Ajmal Mian, as he then was, in the case of I.A. Sherwani and others v. Government of Pakistan and others 1991 SCMR 1086 where in following principles have been laid down:–
“26. From the above cited cases the following principles of law are deducible:—
(i) That equal protection of law does not envisage that every citizen is to be treated alike in all circumstance but it contemplates that persons similarly situated or similarly placed are to be treated alike.
(ii) That reasonable classification is permissible but it must be founded on reasonable distinction or reasonable basis.
(iii) That different law can validly be enacted for different sexes, persons in different age groups, person having different financial standings and persons accused of heinous crimes.
(iv) That no standard of universal application to test reasonableness of classification can be laid down as what may be reasonable classification in a particular set of circumstances, may be unreasonable in the other set of circumstances.
(v) That a law applying to one person or one class of persons may be constitutionally valid if there is sufficient basis or reasons for it but a classification which is arbitrary and is not founded on any rational basis is no classification as to warrant its exclusion from the mischief of Article 25.
(vi) That equal protection of law means that all persons equally placed be treated alike both in privileges conferred and liabilities imposed.
(vii) That in order to make a classification reasonable, it should be based—

(a) On an intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from those who have been left out;

(b) That the differentia must have rational nexus to the object sought to be achieved by such classification.”
From the aforesaid observations it can be safely deduced that classification is to be based on lucid and reasonable standards, permissible within the frame-work of Article 25 of the Constitution as it is also an obligatory duty of the State to bring the backward areas at par with the developed areas and the object of such classification is not only to secure formal and nominal equality but in reality to provide genuine quality amongst different classes or groups of citizens. The aforesaid principle as to reasonable classification in context of equality before law and equal protection of law, have been also approved/concurred by the Honourable Supreme Court, reference if needed be made to Muhammad Sabir Ahmed v. Secretary, Finance Division, Islamabad 1997 SCMR 1026, Mushtaq Ahmed Mohal v. Honourable Lahore High Court 1997 SCMR 1041 and Mst. Attiya Bibi Khan v. Federation of Pakistan 2001 SCMR 1161.
While reading Article 25 with Article 2A, as observed above, it would show that, only such classification is permissible which is reasonable and promotes the object of the Constitution i.e. to make higher education available on merits and at the same time to accommodate the interest of the socially and economically depressed sections of the people, for the purpose of fostering equality amongst the different classes of Society.

15. Thus, Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees, equal rights to all citizens before law and entitles them equal protection of law, further no one shall be discriminated on the basis of sex alone. [p. 29, 30 &319]D

(c) Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, Article 25

As observed hereinabove that classification amongst a class is permissible, but has to be reasonable and based on intelligible differentia. [p.33]E

(d) Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, Articles 25 & 199

Thus, this Court in exercise of Constitutional jurisdiction, can hold a law ultra vires on the ground of discrimination and can be struck down being unreasonable. [p. 37]L

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