Enhancement of the Senate’s powers is one of the top goals for the new parliamentary year, Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said on Friday.
“There is a need to review powers of Senate in prevailing situation,” said Senator Rabbani on the eve of the new parliamentary year. “A constitutional amendment should be introduced for the enhancement of its power.”
He also proposed greater role for the upper house in the democratic set-up. According to him, a mechanism would be devised to develop strong linkages between Senate and the provincial assemblies which are the constituencies of lawmakers so that they could be well aware of problems of their units.
He made these remarks while addressing the launching ceremony of the Alphabetical Catalogue of Laws of Pakistan since 1836 to 2014 which is an indigenous publication of the upper house.
The ceremony was held in parliament house on the last day of thirteenth parliamentary year 2015-16.
Calling the document a repository of all laws of Pakistan, he said it will serve the cause of preserving parliament’s legal institutional memory. The catalogue has been compiled by former Senator Muhammad Anwar Bhinder and a three-member team of Senate Secretariat headed by deputy director of the library, Shagufta Shoukat.
Former president and former chairman Senate Waseem Sajjad has identified the need for updating this catalogue at intervals as new legislation is carried out by parliament every year.
The Senate chairman informed the ceremony that a new committee on subordinate legislation has been created in Senate which will look into the outflow of laws from parliament, hence keeping an update of the law catalogue. He also said that the catalogue of laws is a marketable document and it has to be made known to all relevant sectors, including law schools, high court libraries and law houses of all provinces.
Senator Bhinder said in his remarks that the previously compiled chronological catalogue of laws of Pakistan created difficulties in finding laws if the year of promulgation was not known. Any law or ordinance can be found by simply checking the title of the law, he said.
The Senate secretary while addressing the ceremony termed the document a work of international standard and a truly unique initiative as it relates to all laws governing every possible aspect of civic life.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2016.