Is Justice Munir’s Doctrine of Necessity Dead or Alive?

Is Doctrine of Necessity dead and buried as proclaimed by Supreme Court in its decision of March 2012? Wherein it stated that “deciding cases on the basis of likely consequences will mean reverting to the malignant ‘doctrine of necessity’ that has been buried by the people with their valiant struggle” [1].
Or, is doctrine of necessity alive and kicking?
On November 27, 2017, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui proclaimed in his censure of military that “Everyone should know that there are no followers of Justice Munir in the courts anymore,” he said, referring to the former chief justice who gave legal cover to the dissolution of Pakistan’s first constituent assembly.” and simultaneously “Justice Siddiqui raised many eyebrows when he remarked that he could be assassinated, or may end up joining the ranks of the missing persons, but it was his duty to speak the truth” [2]. However, the same day, Lahore High Court was quick to commend the role of military in saving the country from a huge catastrophe [3]. The difference in opinion is very much clear from a comparison of censure by Justic Siddiqui of IHC, and appreciation by Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmad of LHC about the military role in the Faizabad Dharna and its removal. It is clear that the judges are split on the issue of Justice Munir’s Doctrine of Necessity. LHC judge feels that the role of military is justified at the altar of the necessity of saving the country from a huge catastrophe. Whereas, Judge of IHC is concerned about whether the letter of the law is being followed or not.
[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]


One can also see the doctrine of necessity alive and kicking in the Panama Case Judgement of SC of April 20, 2017. Compare the Doctrine of Necessity (version 1.0) of SC CJ Munir (1954) “Necessity makes lawful that which is unlawful”, with a rephrased version by SC Justice Khosa (2017) “To do a great right, do a little wrong”!

During 63 years from 1954 to 2016, version 1.0 of Doctrine of Necessity had sent home 15 prime ministers, imposed 4 martial laws, and slapped on Pakistanis dictatorial rule of over 35+ years in the service of neo-colonialism which has been detailed in my post on Costs of Justice Munir’s Doctrine of Necessity: 4 Martial Laws and 35 years of dictatorships.


The result of doctrine of necessity had been the wily amendments in the constitution that are still sending away the elected prime ministers on flimsy of excuses.  Doctrine of necessity and the hidden status quo powers have been making this decision of deposing our elected prime-ministers. None of the elected prime ministers have been allowed to complete their term. See my post: Why no PM of Pakistan has ever completed his/her tenure?


Reference: 

  1. Doctrine of necessity buried, says SC, March 06, 2012 Daily Dawn Report
  2. IHC enraged by military role in agreement to end protest
  3. Army saved country from a huge catastrophe: LHC on military’s role in Faizabad agreement

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