A constitutional petition has been filed at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry seeking the disqualification of National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza over her decision not to send a disqualification reference against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to the Election Commission.
The speaker ruled on May 24 that there was no question of the prime minister’s disqualification since the contempt charges framed against him by the apex court were not relatable to the grounds mentioned in Article 63(g)(1) of the Constitution.
Petitioner Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, through counsel AK Dogar, submitted that the speaker, by declining to send the reference to the Election Commission, had acted as a court, which was a violation of the Constitution. He also accused her of violating her oath of office.
The petitioner submitted that the speaker was empowered by Article 63(2) only to decide whether a question arose with respect to the disqualification of a member of the National Assembly, not to decide whether a member had been disqualified or not.
In this instance, he said, the speaker was not even empowered to examine whether such a question arose or not because the Supreme Court’s judgment in the prime minister’s contempt case was before her.
He said Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution was “self-executory” and did not need to be implemented through subordinate legislation or reference by a speaker. He said this issue has been settled by the Supreme Court through a judgement in 1963.
He said after the Supreme Court’s order, the speaker should have stopped the prime minister from sitting in the parliament and participating in its proceedings. He said that she had disobeyed the Supreme Court judgment.
He asked the court to declare the speaker’s ruling illegal, without lawful authority and of no legal effect. He said that the speaker’s violations of the Constitution had disqualified her from the office under Article 62(1)(f). He asked the court to suspend Mirza as speaker as well as her assembly membership till the petition is disposed of.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2012.