The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a detailed judgment in suo moto notice case on ruling by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly under Article 5 of the Constitution qua voting on the No-confidence Motion against the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail had announced a short order on April 07, 2022 on ruling passed on April 03, 2022, by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly on No-confidence Motion.
The court, in its ruling, disposed of the suo motu proceedings and the related constitution petitions and termed since the ruling and detailed reasons of the deputy speaker and the advice of the PM to the President to dissolve the National Assembly have been declared unconstitutional and the dissolution of the NA by the President had no legal effect.
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“The NA stands restored with immediate effect (in fact it is deemed to have been in existence at all times). The Speaker is, therefore, directed to convene a sitting of the NA forthwith and conduct the business of the House as per the Orders of the Day issued for 03.04.2022.”
The judgment stated, “In fact, in our considered view the restoration of NA will strengthen the democratic norms of our political system under the Constitution, namely, Parliamentary form of Government.
It does not concern the Court whether the RNC against the PM succeeds or fails. Our foremost priority is the maintenance of constitutional order in the country which can only be achieved if the NA is restored and permitted to perform its functions under the Constitution.
However, a NA that operates merely as a rubber stamp for the Government of the day does not serve the country. The governance of a nation can only be dynamic and efficient if it is managed by a Government that is held to account by a strong Opposition.
But many times in our legal and political discourse, the significance of a healthy Opposition is overlooked. Nevertheless, we find the account in Halsbury’s Laws of England (Volume 20, 2014) on the indispensability of the Opposition to a flourishing democracy.”
“It may be noticed that to prevent the decline into rule by oligarchy and to uphold the cherished principle of transparent governance, the presence of the Opposition in the NA (and the Senate) is necessary.
The crucial role of the Opposition in a democracy was also explained by the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe in Resolution 1601 (adopted on 23.01.2008),” The judgement read.
“The Opposition Parties are a diverse combination of political parties whereas the Respondents are backed by the largest party in the NA.
They have huge clout by virtue of their sheer numbers and so can play a decisive role whether in the Government or the Opposition in order to perform their constitutional obligations faithfully and diligently so as to serve the people of Pakistan to whom they have made a solemn pledge under the Constitution.”
SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN DETAILED JUDGEMENT : All judges agree that the PM IMRAN KHAN -President ARIF ALVI and Deputy Speaker acted in violation of the rule of law, and denied the people of Pakistan their fundamental right to be governed by a constitutional Parliamentary Govt! pic.twitter.com/eT8VJyA7V2
— Kamran Shahid (@FrontlineKamran) July 13, 2022
“However, such consequential relief may be denied by the Court if it can be shown that the same will perpetuate injustice or will not be just and proper in the circumstances. Reference is made to the concurring judgment of Justice Ajmal Mian (as he then was) in the Nawaz Sharif Vs. President of Pakistan.
Although Justice Ajmal Mian’s observations were made in the context of fundamental rights, we are of the view that they apply equally to situations where constitutional rights have been violated.”
“His comments,” the judgement noted, “also reinforce our view (stated in para 88 above) that in situations of proven public interest the Court may deny consequential relief.
Nevertheless, in the instant proceedings learned counsel for the Respondents have not been able to persuade us that restoring the NA will either perpetuate injustice, be unjust and improper in the circumstances or irreparably harm any public interest.”
The order further stated that “even so being a Court of Law we must decide matters strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the law and not on the basis of expediency or individual perception.
Therefore, if today we maintain the dissolution of NA, which has been brought about by the illegal actions of the Deputy Speaker, PM and President, we will effectively be disobeying the Constitution, specifically Article 95(2).
As custodians of the Constitution [ref: Corruption in Hajj Arrangements in 2010: In the matter of (PLD 2011 SC 963) at para 20], the Court cannot lend its support to any extra-constitutional measure unless a compelling public interest established by evidence and floating on the face of the record so demands, it added.