IHC turns down PML-N’s petition against 60-day deadline

Zubair Qureshi

The Islamabad High Court has turned down a petition challenging the presidential ordinance that set a deadline of 60 days for elected members to take the oath.

The Pakistan Muslim League-N filed the petition assailing the Elections (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 that requires elected members to take the oath within 60 days of commencement of the first sitting of their respective assembly.

Earlier, after a preliminary hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had reserved a verdict on the admissibility of the petition.

However, later in a detailed verdict on Friday the court set aside the plea observing it would be better such matters should be dealt with within the Parliament and the courts should not be asked to exercise their extraordinary powers.

In the judgment, it has been held “The Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) is the supreme legislative organ and the scheme of promulgation of an Ordinance under Article 89 is subject to the oversight of the representatives of the people in both the Houses.”

The trend of involving the judicial branch of the State in matters having political content is one of the factors which contributed towards the weakening of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) on the one hand, and on the other it has exposed the judicial branch to unnecessary controversies.

It is an obligation of the political parties and their respective leaderships to ensure that political disputes are resolved within the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) instead of involving the courts, the court’s verdict reads.

It is also for the courts to show the utmost restraint in matters which fall within the domain of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or have a political content.

“This court has profound respect for the elected representatives and, therefore, it expects that they would resolve their disputes within the Majlis-eShoora (Parliament) rather than unnecessarily involving constitutional courts,” said the judgment.

According to the verdict, despite having a majority in the Upper House, if the Petitioner Party and other opposition parties do not disapprove the Amendment Ordinance, 2021, then this Court has no reason to interfere and thus usurp the constitutional authority vested in the forums representing the people of Pakistan.

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