Pakistan SC Raps PM Imran Khan’s Govt for Promulgating Excessive Number of Ordinances

In a landmark ruling, Pakistan’s Supreme Court has rapped the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan for promulgating an excessive number of ordinances, observing that an ordinance could only be issued in emergent matters. The President or the governors cannot promulgate an ordinance without satisfying constitutional requirements, the apex court said on Thursday.

Observing that ordinances could only be issued in emergency matters, the country’s apex court ruled against the promulgation of excessive ordinances to run the government. The landmark 30-page verdict by a Supreme Court bench that also elaborated the course of action for promulgating ordinances comes after Islamabad High Court (IHC) was told in July 2021 that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf: government led by Prime Minister Khan had issued at least 54 presidential ordinances during the three years of power since July 2018.

The provincial court was told that some ordinances were issued to even run the routine business of the federal government, the Dawn newspaper reported. According to Pakistan National Assembly’s website, over 16 ordinances have already been promulgated in the third parliamentary year of the current government.

The president and provincial governors may promulgate ordinances, but their power to promulgate ordinances is circumscribed by the Constitution, observed the Supreme Court. The court observed that the President shall only promulgate an ordinance in respect of any matter in the federal legislative list when neither the Senate nor the National Assembly is in session.

It said the President could “only do so when circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action. In the absence of even one of the stated preconditions, neither the President nor the governors can promulgate ordinances. Ordinances may only be promulgated in respect of emergent matters because this alone is what the Constitution permits, the Express Tribune newspaper cited the court order as saying.

The apex court also stressed that “each and every word of the Constitution, the methodologies as well as procedures prescribed therein must strictly be adhered to”. The country’s top court had earlier in a December 2021 verdict observed that ordinances were not being placed in the parliament and that it denied the parliament an “opportunity to reject temporary laws.


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