ISLAMABAD: The parliamentary committee that drew up the 18th constitutional amendment early this year has cautioned the Supreme Court against undermining the parliament’s supremacy by challenging its decisions.
At a meeting here on Friday, members of the committee from all political parties observed that the higher judiciary must not ‘introduce a new tradition of scrapping the parliament’s verdicts’.
Remarks by MPs came amid divided opinion in the country on whether the Supreme Court’s powers are restricted to the ‘interpretation’ of the Constitution or if it can go beyond that as well.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing several challenges to the 18th Constitutional Amendment, which this committee drafted and subsequently the parliament approved.
The most ‘controversial’ of its clauses is a provision that envisages parliamentary scrutiny of judges’ appointments in the higher courts (Supreme and high courts) through a commission. Chaired by Senator Raza Rabbani of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the panel observed that the amendment is now part of the country’s Constitution and law.
Insiders told The Express Tribune that almost all members were of the view that the Supreme Court would be ‘overstretching’ its constitutional mandate if it scraps any of the amendment’s clauses.
“The parliament is a sovereign institution. It has the right to amend the constitution and laws the way it wants… no other organ of the state can overrule its decisions,” a participant quoted the members as saying. The meeting also decided that Rabbani would personally appear before a Supreme Court bench to defend the amendment during the next hearing of the case scheduled for next week.
Talking to media later, Rabbani said the amendment is the property of the national parliament and provincial assemblies and it would be defended in the court.
Rabbani, who is now heading a parliamentary commission to guide the government on the implementation of the amendment, said the process of implementing it would be expedited.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2010.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ