170 ordinances promulgated from 2008 to 2018, IHC told

Updated January 22, 2020

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The petition cited Presi­dent Dr Arif Alvi, principal secretary to the prime minister and the secretaries of law, National Assembly and Senate as respondents.  — APP/File
The petition cited Presi­dent Dr Arif Alvi, principal secretary to the prime minister and the secretaries of law, National Assembly and Senate as respondents. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The law ministry informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday that governments led by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) promulgated 170 presidential ordinances from 2008 to 2018.

The ministry submitted a written reply during the hearing of a petition filed by PML-N’s lawmaker Barris­ter Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha.

The petition cited Presi­dent Dr Arif Alvi, principal secretary to the prime minister and the secretaries of law, National Assembly and Senate as respondents.

The petition said the president, under Article 89 of the Constitution, was empowered to promulgate ordinances, which were a form of temporary legislation subject to two expressly stipulated conditions: when neither the Senate nor the National Assembly is in session; and if circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action.

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

In its reply, the law ministry stated that the Constitution empowered the president to promulgate ordinances under certain conditions.

According to the ministry, Article 89 of the Constitution explains the presidential powers for promulgation of an ordinance and in the past the PML-N and PPP governments issued the presidential ordinances in order to run the affairs of the government.

Dr Babar Awan, an amicus curiae in this case, also submitted a report to the IHC.

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

It claimed that at the time of promulgating these ordinances, the president had good reason to be aware of the upcoming Senate session starting on Nov 5 and the National Assembly session starting on Nov 7. However, without waiting for these sessions of parliament, the president rushed to promulgate eight ordinances in a single day.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2020