ISLAMABAD                 -           The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday gave amici curiae more time to submit reply in a petition challenging promulgation of eight ordinances by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and to declare the ordinances illegal, unconstitutional being ultra vires of Article 89 of the Constitution.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition moved by PML-N MNA Mohsin Ranjha through Advocate Umer Gilani requesting IHC to declare the impugned ordinances illegal, unconstitutional being ultra vires of Article 89 of the Constitution and having been promulgated in a mala fide manner.

In this matter, the court had appointed Makhdoom Ali Khan, Babar Awan, Raza Rabbani, and Abid Hussain Minto as amici curiae and directed them to submit their replies to assist the court in this matter.

Some of them could not submit their reply in this matter and therefore, the IHC bench deferred hearing in this matter till March 24 for further proceeding.

The Federal Ministry of Law stated in its reply that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) promulgated 170 presidential ordinances during their regimes.

The written reply stated that the President of Pakistan was authorised to introduce necessary legislation through an ordinance in accordance of the Constitution. It further said that PML-N and PPP who were claimants of Parliament’s supremacy, had introduced a total of 170 ordinances during their governments’ tenures from 2008 to 2018.

The ministry also produced the details of all ordinances before the court.

In his application, Ranjha said that more than one and a half month later, respondents are yet to file any reply. In the meanwhile, they have continued to promulgate new ordinances with full speed, while completely sidelining Parliament.

He added that the question of law raised in the petition goes to the essence of the democratic dispensation envisaged in the Constitution 1973.

The petitioner assailed the ordinances saying the impugned ordinances are ultra vires of Article 89 of the Constitution. The ordinance-making power is an emergency provision and is not meant for routine legislation.

The PML-N leader maintained that the constitution places strict conditions on the exercise of ordinance-making power.

It is to be exercised only when doing so is necessary for responding to an emergency situation (such as war, famine, epidemic or rebellion) which arises after the prorogation of one session of Parliament and where waiting for the next session would cause irreparable loss to the people of Pakistan.

He further said that the data suggests that, unfortunately, the ordinance-making power has been constantly abused by successive governments. It appears that more than 2,500 ordinances have been promulgated by presidents since 1947. This practice, which amounts to a transgression by the executive into the legislature’s domain, is continuing even today.