- Supreme Court questions how the NA deputy speaker could give a ruling to reject the no-confidence vote in the National Assembly
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court questioned how the NA deputy speaker could give a ruling to reject the no-confidence vote in the National Assembly on April 3.
Justice Muneeb Akhtar observed that under Rule 28 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007, only the Speaker decides or gives his ruling on any matter on the floor of the House or in his office on the file. He said the Deputy Speaker could give ruling when the Speaker has delegated his power to him under Rule 14(4) through a written notification. He said the Speaker under Article 260 and the Rules of Procedure means the Speaker, adding the Ruling of 3rd April on no-confidence vote was beyond the jurisdiction of the Deputy Speaker.
Justice Muneeb questioned can the Speaker withdraw or modify the ruling.
Farooq H Naek, representing the PPP, said the Speaker can refuse the resolution before leave grant motion, adding when the leave is granted on Resolution, the Speaker can’t modify or withdraw the ruling, but if he wants to withdraw or modify then he has to send the matter back to the Parliament. It can be rescinded by the Parliament.
A five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, on Monday, heard the suo moto taken by the CJP on the Deputy Speaker’s ruling on the no-confidence vote.
The apex court turned down the Pakistan Peoples Party’s counsel’s request that a Full Court be constituted for hearing of the suo moto as very important constitutional points were involved. However, the chief justice said if he has an objection on any member of the bench then they would rise.
The bench directed the advocate general Punjab to get instruction from the relevant authorities on the election of the new chief minister and to make a statement today (Tuesday).
The court noted that the Parliamentary Committee meeting was held on the communiqué where the opposition failed to participate. The bench questioned what the significance of the ruling of the parliamentary committee is, and what its significance is for the purpose of the House.
The bench questioned when the resolution can be rejected for voting.
Farooq Naek argued once the motion leave is granted on the no-confidence then it is not in the ambit of the Speaker’s or the Deputy Speaker’s powers to reject the resolution. He said the issue of legality or illegality of resolution has to be done at the earlier stage. The extraneous grounds cannot be taken into account after the leave is granted. The majority of the total members of the Parliament can vote to reject the resolution on no-confidence vote, he added.
Justice Ijaz said it means when the bridge is crossed then the date on resolution was only to be fixed for voting.
The counsel said the Speaker has to see the propriety or validity of the resolution before the leave granted on the motion.
The chief justice noted that it means that no ground is available with the Speaker to strike down the resolution on extraneous ground, adding the only stage is when the motion for resolution is submitted by 20 percent of the total membership of the National Assembly.
Farooq H Naek informed that each House of the Parliament is the master of its own procedures, adding those cannot be touched upon. He said the procedure for no-confidence vote is found in the National Assembly Rules and it is also found in the Article 95 of the Constitution.
Justice Muneeb said if the procedure of no-confidence is given in the Constitution then any deviation from the procedure is the constitutional illegality. “It is the violation of the mandate of Constitution,” the judge noted.
At the onset of the hearing, Farooq H Naek briefed the bench when the requisition and the resolution for no-confidence vote was submitted, i.e., on 08-03-22. He said that the resolution under Article 95 of Constitution does not state any charge or allegation against the prime minister as it is required to impeach the President.
The PPP lawyer submitted that the opposition was allowed to move the resolution on 28-03-22, while the 14 days under the Article 95 completed on 22-03-22. He told that resolution was approved by the Speaker on 28-03-22.
The NA Session was summoned on 31-03-22, but it was adjourned without debate within five minutes. However, that day the voting day was fixed for April 3. He further informed that on that day, Law Minister Fawad Chaudhry stood on his seat and gave a brief speech about the ‘foreign conspiracy’ against the PTI government. Thereafter, the deputy speaker read out the ruling of the Speaker. He said that the detailed ruling was issued later on. Naek said this mala fide has brought the country to a standstill. He said that the speech of Fawad Chaudhry was the continuation of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech on 27-03-22, where he spoke about ‘foreign interference’ in the internal affairs of Pakistan that the opposition parties with the help of the foreign conspirators wanted to topple his government.
Naek contended that the Deputy Speaker’s ruling not only condemned but declared 175 sitting members of the Parliament as traitor without a proof. It took less than three minutes to reject the resolution on no-confidence vote. He requested the bench to set aside the Ruling of the Deputy Speaker on no-confidence vote. “All eyes nationally and internationally are fixed on the judgment of the Supreme Court on the matter,” he said.
The chief justice said that they wanted to decide the matter soon; therefore, they like to decide after hearing all the parties. Justice Ijaz said it is a very important case of constitutional issue, adding it cannot be decided hurriedly. Once the judgment is given it will be for all times to come.
The case was adjourned to April 5 (today).
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022