Presidential ordinances insult Parliament: CJP Isa

Qazi Faez Isa says Constitution grants ECP authority to form election tribunals

Our Correspndent June 20, 2024
Chief Justice: Election Commission Holds Authority to Form Election Tribunals PHOTO: Express


Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa on Thursday stated in the Supreme Court proceedings that issuing presidential ordinances is an insult to Parliament, saying that if ordinances are to be issued, the House should be suspended, Express News reported.

In response, the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) lawyer noted that the Constitution does permit the issuance of ordinances.

During the Supreme Court hearing on the ECP's appeal regarding the formation of eight election tribunals, the Election Commission's lawyer argued that forming tribunals is within the commission's authority under Article 219(c) of the Constitution.

The commission had written to all high courts on February 14 to request lists of judges' names for tribunal appointments. The Lahore High Court provided two names on February 20, and these judges were notified as election tribunal members. On April 26, two more judges were appointed, with no disputes arising over the formation of four tribunals.

The chief justice questioned why the Chief Election Commissioner and the chief justice of a high court couldn't meet to resolve issues, criticising the tendency to make everything contentious in Pakistan. He noted that there had also been a dispute between the president and the ECP over election dates. The chief justice suggested that direct communication between the Chief Election Commissioner and the chief justice could have resolved the matter.

Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan remarked that no disputes arose with other high courts, only with the Lahore High Court, whereas the tribunal proceedings in the Balochistan High Court were near completion.

During the hearing, the chief justice interrupted to clarify that the term "honorable" should be reserved for judges and questioned why Parliament is not given the same respect, pointing out the lack of mutual respect among parliamentarians.

CJP Isa emphasised that the Constitution clearly grants the ECP the authority to form election tribunals under Article 219 Section C. He stated that their oath is based on the Constitution and law, and judicial interpretations should not complicate matters.

Read: IHC takes up plea against election ordinance

Previously, LHC on June 6 reserved its decision on a petition challenging the amendment to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law through a presidential ordinance.

The petition was heard by Justice Shujaat Ali Khan after being filed by citizen Munir Ahmed.

During the hearing, Deputy Attorney General Rauf Atta clarified that no similar petition is currently pending in the Supreme Court.

The court questioned the necessity of the presidential ordinance, asking whether an emergency situation had warranted it being issued.

"Why was there a need to issue a presidential ordinance in the presence of Parliament?" the court further remarked.

Advocate Azhar Siddique argued for an injunction against the presidential ordinance.

The petitioner's lawyer contended that only Parliament has the authority to amend NAB laws, while the president can issue an ordinance only in emergencies.



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