PPP says Supreme Court embarks on dangerous course

Monday, July 29th, 2013 10:27:13 by

Senator Farhatullah Babar said Monday that in the name of interpreting the Constitution the Supreme Court seemed to have embarked upon a dangerous course of re-writing the Constitution itself and asked the Parliamentarians across the political divide to realize its gravity and join hands to check it.


Taking part in the debate he said that merely because a political party was unable to bring

together its voters to vote the Supreme Court assumed the constitutional role of the Election Commission and gave a new schedule for Presidential election which was going far too far in the name of interpreting the Constitution.


Reading out from the petition of Raja Zafarul Haq that pleaded that holding elections on August 6 violated the fundamental rights of the parliamentarians as they will not be able to perform umrah and aitekaf he said that the Court accepted the plea without giving notice to other stake holders and without explaining as to which fundamental right was violated and how the violation will be undone by advancing the date of election.


He said that under Article 184 (3) enforcement of fundamental rights was the only situation in which the Supreme Court can directly intervene but there is no discussion on this fundamental question in the order.


There is no explanation in brief order how advancing the date from August 6 to July 30 was necessary to enforce the fundamental rights of the people.


He said that another petition seeking the postponement of Presidential election till after August 22 by elections to the 42 vacant seats in different assemblies was reportedly pending before the SC and it should have been clubbed with the PML-N petition but it was not done.


He said that the court did not even ask how many parliamentarians were going for umrah and whether they had valid visas or not nor any member aggrieved with August 6 date had actually approached the court for a change in the date. It is strange that PML-N petition was upheld on the basis of grounds mentioned.


He said that the Supreme Court has in effect held that even for the performance non obligatory religious rites it was necessary to change the election date.


By not giving cogent reasons of the constitutionality of court intervention in the matter the impression that the Constitution was being re-written in the name of interpreting had further been strengthened, he said.


Farhatullah Babar warned that if this trend was not checked then many voices will rise from within the Parliament supporting Senator Zahid Khan of ANP demanding the resignation of the Chief Justice which he said would be unfortunate.


He said that the PPP had reasons to feel aggrieved and notice judicial bias against it. A PPP Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani was sent home overturning the ruling of the Speaker. The court order was sent in such an unceremonious manner that the Speaker was provoked to denounce it ‘in bad taste and also against the parliamentary norms and traditions’.


When Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf urged the court to appoint a Commission as was done in the case of Arsalan Iftikhar he was served with contempt notice.


Out of thousands of NRO cases only one pertaining to President Zardari was pursued with vigor and tenacity that was most surprising to say the least.


The cases of PPP ministers and Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Rahman Malik are also too well known.


A question asked by the PPP in the Parliament whether there were judges with dual nationality was dismissed on the ground that the Constitution did not bar judges from holding dual nationally.


Another PPP question about the number of cases pending in superior courts was not answered on the ground that it amounted to interfering in the independence of judiciary.


Contrasted with this on the application of Chaudhry Nisar two chairmen of NAB were sent home. On another petition by Khawaja Asif a number of appointments made by the PPP government were declared null and void and the executive function of appointing a commission for high level appointments was assumed by the court itself.


He said that the whole sale suo moto notices taken during the PPP government prompted even the head of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) to remark in September 2011 that this practice endangered the rule of law. The ICJ chief also stressed the need for transparency and urging the Supreme Court to exercise restraint, he said.

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