Law experts fear judiciary-executive tension over supremacy of parliament
16 July, 2012
ISLAMABAD: After three years of wrangling between the judiciary and the executive, legal experts fear another phase of tension may be started in future over the supremacy of parliament.
Legal experts say that in view of the overuse of the judicial review powers by the superior judiciary in different matters this year and the chief justice of Pakistan's July 7 speech, in which he had said that the constitution not parliament was the supreme entity in Pakistan, a clash between political forces and judiciary could be anybody's guess.
They also said that the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and its allies could raise the issue of the supremacy of parliament in future; therefore, judges should be careful in giving their observations in the public.
Likewise, senior jurists also believe that Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain's refusal to appear before public account committee (PAC) over the apex court's financial accounts may also give an opportunity to the executive to propagate against the judiciary.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and other opposition parties, which always backed the Supreme Court on any issue, are silent, shows that they have different opinion than the apex court.
The PAC has also sought an opinion from the Law Ministry on the rejoinder from the Supreme Court regarding its denial to send any of its representatives before the committee.
Meanwhile, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Fawad Chaudhry termed non-appearance of the SC Registrar misconduct and urged the PAC to move a reference against him. The committee have powers to stop the Supreme Court funds, he said.
He said that parliament represent the will of the people and its constitutional amendment could not be struck down in view of Article 239 (6) of the constitution.
Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Akhtar Hussain, supporting the PAC stance, said that the SC Registrar should appear before the committee because his appearance would not be interference in the independence of judiciary, adding that scrutiny of the SC accounts was an administrative matter.
Opposing the chief justice's observation regarding the supremacy of parliament, he said that lawyers would not agree with the CJP in this regard. The chief justice should not have given this kind of observation in a speech because judges speak through their judgements, he said.
He said that lawyers believed that parliament was the supreme institution in the country because it was the representative of 180 millions people and in view of public needs, it could form new law. He said that due to the clash between judiciary and executive, economic situation was becoming worse day by day.
Former PBC vice chairman Latif Afridi said that every institution had its own role and they should not interfere in each other's affairs.
The Punjab government, in its reply during 18th amendment case in 2010, had opposed the judicial review on constitutional amendment.