Supremacy of parliament

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THE Supreme Court on Tuesday impressed upon the political figures of all parties to discuss public issues on the floor of parliament instead of involving the judiciary and observed that functioning of parliament was necessary for the progress of the country.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsen and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah made these observations while hearing the petition filed by former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan challenging the government amendments made to the NAB law.

Under the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy, Parliament can make law concerning anything, no parliament can take a future-parliament hostage and a valid act of parliament cannot be questioned by the court.

In parliamentary democracies, the legislative branch of the Government is considered to be more powerful than others.

It is, however, regrettable that the concept of parliamentary supremacy or sovereignty has almost been assigned to the dustbin – thanks to the self-centred policies of politicians and political parties and scant regard for the principle of separation of powers by state institutions.

The Supreme Court has done well by telling the political parties to sort out public issues on the floor of Parliament and avoid involving the judiciary in these issues.

However, there is a general impression that the judiciary is not only stepping into the domain of Parliament but is also trying to re-write the Constitution as it did in the case of interpretation of Article-163-A of the Constitution.

Parliament, which gave the country its consensus Constitution, has the potential to address even the most complex issues and challenges confronting the country but this requires commitment to the cause of Parliament by all especially parliamentarians.

Ironically, an impression is gaining ground that instead of discussions and dialogue on the floor of Parliament, politicians and parties want the judiciary and other institutions to play a complementary role in advancing their vested party interests.

This, together with lack of interest by parliamentarians, cabinet members and even by the Prime Ministers in proceedings of Parliament, is a dangerous trend that could deprive Parliament of its powers and relevance in the overall scheme of things.

It is time parliamentarians stop their endless infighting and forge consensus to defend the institution they represent in the larger interests of the country.

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