ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Finance Division regarding providing Rs21 billion to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding elections in the Punjab, sources said.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar in its April 19 order had warned the government of “serious consequences”, if it failed to release the funds (Rs21 billion) required for conducting polls in the Punjab and KP.
“The Court requires that appropriate remedial measures be taken in full measure not later than 27.04.2023 and, in particular, by that date the sum of Rs21 billion be provided, in immediately available and realizable funds, to the Commission for the holding of the general elections to the Punjab and KPK Assemblies,” the order said.
The sources further shared that the Registrar’s office has sent the notice to the Ministry of Finance through a special messenger of the court. They also revealed that the ECP in pursuance of the notices, issued to it last night (Thursday) filed the report about Rs21 billion for holding elections in the Punjab. It is learnt that the ECP apprised the court that funds have not been provided by the government.
The SC’s April 19 order further said: “With respect, we were not satisfied that the earlier resolution stood in the way of the Federal Cabinet exercising its constitutional power under Article 84.”
It said that on the basis of the Finance Division’s report the federal government did not itself have the requisite constitutional authority and power at all times to authorise the expenditure of Rs21 billion for the general elections, cannot be accepted.
The effect of the Federal Cabinet’s decision to refer the matter to the National Assembly, and for Demand No 64A to be rejected when voted upon by that House may now be considered.
The bench considered that in the system of the parliamentary democracy envisaged by the Constitution, the government of the day must command the confidence of the majority of the National Assembly at all times. Furthermore, given that the office of the Prime Minister has primacy (who is declared by Article 91(1) to be the chief executive of the Federation), this also means that the Prime Minister must enjoy the confidence of the majority of the National Assembly at all times.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023