ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will take up distribution of funds to members of the national and the provincial assemblies Wednesday (Feb 10).
A five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, and comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, and Justice Ijazul Ahsan will hear the suo motu regarding distribution of development funds to the MNAs/MPAs by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Justice Isa, who heard the matter along with Justice Maqbool Baqir on February 4th, had referred it to the chief justice for the constitution of a larger bench.
According to a media report, the prime minister on January 28th had announced Rs500m for each MNA and MPA, so that they can initiate development schemes in their constituencies.
The apex court in its judgment on Action against Distribution of Development Funds by Ex-Prime Minister held; “The National Assembly, while giving assent to a grant which is to be utilized by the Executive at its discretion, has to follow the procedure provided in Articles 80 to 84 of the Constitution as well as the Rules of Procedure, 2007. However, such discretionary grant cannot be spent at the absolute discretion of the Executive and the discretion has to be exercised in a structured manner.”
“The Constitution does not permit the use/allocation of funds to MNAs/MPAs/notables at the sole discretion of the prime minister or the chief minister. If there is any practice of allocation of funds to the MNAs/MPAs/notables at the sole discretion of the prime minister/chief minister, the same is illegal and unconstitutional. The government is bound to establish procedure/criteria for governing allocation of such funds for this purpose.”
Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed was asked to explain whether the said distribution of public funds accorded with the Constitution and the cited precedent and whether the federal and provincial governments had handed over or intended to hand over monies to the legislators and/or carry out development works identified by them.
The court had issued notices to the cabinet secretary/principal secretary to the prime minister, secretary Ministry of Finance, and all the provincial governments through their respective chief secretaries and secretary finance departments.
The notices were also issued to the attorney general and to the advocate generals of Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the Punjab, and of the Islamabad Capital Territory.
They were directed to submit replies.