ISLAMABAD: The Islam­abad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday issued notices to the attorney general and advocate general of Islam­abad on a petition filed by a lawmaker of Pakistan Mus­lim League-Nawaz (PML-N) against presidential ordinances promulgated by the PTI government.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah admitted the petition, filed by PML-N’s Member of National Assembly Barrister Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha.

At the outset of the case proceedings, advocate Umer Gillani, counsel for the petitioner, apprised the court that presidential ordinances which might be promulgated in emergency situations were being promulgated by the federal government to run the routine business of the government.

Justice Minallah obser­ved that parliament was the supreme institution and such issues should be resolv­ed within the august forum.

Barrister Ranjha accused President Dr Arif Alvi of not exercising his discretionary powers judiciously and said that the court had already held that Dr Alvi had violated the constitution and for this he might be impeached.

On this, Justice Minallah remarked that the court had never passed such observations and warned of initiating contempt proceedings against him for attributing false information to the court.

Mr Ranjah immediately tendered an apology and assured the court to be careful in future.

According to the petition, the President, under Article 89 of the Constitution of Pakistan, is empowered to promulgate ordinances, which are a form of temporary legislation subject to two expressly stipulated conditions: (a) when neither the Senate nor the National Assembly is in session; and (b) if circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action.

It further said that the pre­­sident was bound to act on, and in accordance with, the advice of the federal government. This meant, it said, the ultimate responsibility for the promulgation of the impugned ordinances fell upon the federal government.

According to the petition, on October 30, 2019, Pre­sident Alvi promulgated eight ordinances in a single day.

The website of the Nat­ional Assembly indicates that since Sept 24, 2018, the president has promulgated at least 20 ordinances.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2019