In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the supremacy of the parliament over all institutions and declared that the Council of Common Interests (CCI) stands subservient to the parliament and is not superior to it.
A three-judge bench of the court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, was hearing a case pertaining to dissolution of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).
In the hearing, the court issued a detailed verdict on the matter and formed an ad hoc body through its January 12 short order. The detailed judgment, authored by the CJP, elaborates on constitutional issues including the role of CCI and the parliament.
The 39-page verdict authored by the chief justice says, “The CCI does not have a supervisory role over the functions of parliament, since it is responsible to parliament under the constitution.
“Parliament, without any restriction or constraint, has absolute and unfettered authority to make laws with respect to the matters enumerated in the federal legislative list, without requiring any approval or assent from any forum or authority in the country, including the CCI.”
The court ruled that “the CCI has no role in the legislative process with respect to the matters enumerated in the federal legislative list, rather it is restricted to formulation and regulation of policies in relation to the said matters, and that too contained only in part II of such list.”
Interpreting the constitutional provisions on the powers of the CCI, the apex court elaborated that ordinances, if not laid before the CCI before promulgation, could not be declared invalid.
“Once policies are finalised, the CCI cannot interfere in the legislative process, nor can any legislation be struck down for the reason that the CCI was not involved in the relevant legislative process,” the judgment said.
The court also declared that re-promulgation of ordinances not approved or disapproved by the parliament is a fraud on the constitution and a subversion of democratic legislative processes.
Likewise, the top court also discussed the power of president to promulgate the ordinance.
The ruling says, “Any amendment/insertion/introduction made by an ordinance would not survive after its lapse/repeal. If, notwithstanding the fact that an ordinance promulgated under Article 89 of the constitution expires through efflux of time, the amendments made by it to a permanent statute, ie an act of parliament, are allowed to possess a permanent character, then this will virtually amount to giving plenary power of making permanent legislation to the executive; it would be tantamount to providing the executive a machinery to bypass the constitutional mandate of the legislature and this we cannot permit, being absolutely against the spirit of the constitution which embodies the important principles of democracy and trichotomy of powers.”
The court observed that the ordinance-making power under Article 89 of the Constitution does not constitute the president into a parallel source of law making or an independent legislative authority.