'The Constitution wins': Legal eagles weigh in on historic SC verdict

The five-member bench unanimously set aside the deputy speaker's ruling to dismiss the no-trust vote and the NA's dissolution.
Published April 7, 2022

The Supreme Court set aside on Thursday Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri's April 3rd ruling to dismiss the no-trust resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan and the subsequent dissolution of the National Assembly by the President on the premier's advice, with all five judges unanimously voting against it.

The bench, headed by CJP Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, delivered the verdict on the suo motu proceedings after four days of arguments and deliberations.

Here is what legal eagles have to say about the verdict:

Abdul Moiz Jaferii

In the end, what is important is that the court finally did it. It announced the only order that fully complies with the Constitution.

It got here after its remarks seemed like the lords were inclined to look for a supposed middle ground, be it in the shape of consulting with the chief election commissioner about the preparedness for elections or asking the opposition leader about the economic situation. It got here after flirting with examining the contents of the supposed conspiracy memo, as if it would make a difference to what was a constitutional question.

But we are here. A constitutional wrong has been righted. The representatives of the people are to get their vote, and choose whether to declare a lack of confidence in the leader of the House, after that same leader tried to pull out the rug from beneath them.

Jibran Nasir

History has been made today. The Supreme Court's biggest achievement today was a unanimous decision that the Constitution was violated and all actions and proceedings emanating from it are a nullity.

The unanimous decision will also serve to counter the polarisation created by the PTI on the interpretation of the Constitution. Given the troubled history of our institutions, including the judiciary, today's decision is the definition of Naya Pakistan in real terms.

The honorable judges, instead of creating any exceptions, have stressed on the strict adherence of the Constitution and parliamentary procedure, which will block the way for any future malicious agenda by any political party to subvert the Constitution and use public pressure to fortify the same.

The Supreme Court, through its decision, has distanced itself from any politicking and has shown restraint for the supremacy of the Constitution. Long Live the Constitution, Long Live Pakistan!

Salahuddin Ahmed

This is a historic decision. The SC has delivered the verdict strictly in accordance with the law and the Constitution.

Not only did the judges unanimously set aside the Deputy Speaker's unconstitutional ruling and ordered to reverse the subsequent actions by the premier and the President, it also rejected the government's arguments for applying the much-maligned doctrine of necessity and its requests for disregarding its own unconstitutional actions in the larger public interest.

The Supreme Court's ruling must be welcomed by everyone.

Basil Nabi Malik

The Supreme Court had a monumental task before it. And it rose to it.

The issue was not merely whether the ruling of the Deputy Speaker was unlawful and unconstitutional, but rather what would happen to the subsequent actions taken in pursuance of that illegal ruling. What would happen to the dissolution of the Assembly, the processes of appointing a caretaker government, and the conduct of the general elections itself?

The Supreme Court could have taken the tough and daunting decision of undoing everything the government had done on the touchstone of constitutional principles or it could have succumbed to convenience and given in to its dark and chequered past of only undoing the acts but preserving the consequences.

But the Supreme Court did not do that. It chose to be on the right side of history and it chose to uphold the constitutional principles we all hold dear to us. The doctrine of necessity was threatening to be resurrected, but the Supreme Court ensured that it would remain vanquished in the prison of the past.

The decision is historic for the reason that it shall have tremendously positive effects on the growth and progress of democratic principles in Pakistan. But over and above that, and perhaps most important of all, it has shown us that we can, must, and, if the Supreme Court’s decision is anything to go by, have learned from our past.

Asad Rahim Khan

A good day for the Constitution and for the sanctity of Parliament. The Supreme Court has recognised that the integrity of an elected assembly, as well as the need to safeguard the parliamentary process, cannot be compromised.

The clarity of the verdict, as opposed to the moral ambiguity of the Haji Saifullah precedent, stands out.

Mirza Moiz Baig

Post dictatorial societies like Pakistan are often characterised by a ‘judicialisation of mega politics’, a phenomenon marked by an increased reliance on courts and judicial means to address political controversies.

The judiciary in Pakistan, therefore, often finds itself in the midst of political crises. While all choices for a court thrust in the midst of such crises are fraught with risks, courts ought to follow the letter of the law and not lose sight of their constitutional role as they search for a fabled middle ground.

With the Supreme Court declaring the Deputy Speaker’s rejection of the vote of no confidence unconstitutional, the entire structure built thereon too had to crumble.

The real winner here is, thus, the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution.

Several other lawyers took to Twitter to express their thoughts.

Salar Ahmed simply tweeted: "The Constitution wins".

Hassan Niazi concurred. "The Constitution is supreme," he tweeted.

Reema Omer said that "faith in the sanctity of the Constitution [was] strengthened" by the verdict.

Taimur Malik explained why most lawyers were celebrating the decision.