ISLAMABAD       -        A senior opposition lawmaker has moved a constitutional amendment bill in the Senate that proposes to make it mandatory for the government to place each presidential ordinance in the first sitting of either house of the parliament after its promulgation.

The opposition parties in the Senate have been blaming the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that it is avoiding and using dill-delaying tactics to lay those presidential ordinances in the house that are promulgated when the parliament is not in session.

They say that the government fears that opposition-dominated 104 member Senate would disapprove these ordinances through resolutions of disapproval as empowered by the constitution. The constitution says that any house of the parliament, the National Assembly or the Senate, can disapprove the ordinance through a “resolution of disapproval” passed with a majority of vote. Former chairman Senate and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Mian Raza Rabbani has moved the private members bill—the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020— in the house that seeks to amend Article 89 of the 1973 Constitution.

The Article 89 deals with the powers of the President to promulgate ordinance when parliament is not in session and extreme circumstances exist wherein legislation becomes imperative. The bill seeks to add two provisos to Article 89. “The Ordinance shall be laid in the first sitting of either House of Parliament after its promulgation and shall stand repealed if not laid in that session,” says the amendment proposed in the bill.

The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says that there is a long history of the misuse of the power of the President to promulgate an ordinance, when parliament is not in session and such extreme circumstances exist where in legislation becomes indispensable.

“Parliament has consciously been placing fetters on such power of the President, but unsuccessfully.”

In the recent past, there has been inordinate delay in laying the ordinances, promulgated when parliament was not in session, in contravention of Article 89, says the statement adding that “this process has denied the members of both the houses from exercising their constitutional right of moving a resolution of disapproval” under the constitution. On December 30 of last year, the opposition had also pointed out this issue in the requisition submitted with the Senate Secretariat to summon fresh session of the house.

 

 

 The session should be summoned to discuss the six point agenda including “legality and constitutionality of the ordinances that have been laid in the National Assembly and not in the Senate of Pakistan as required by Article 89 of the Constitution,” the requisition reads.

Chairman Senate Mohammad Sadiq Sanjrani has summoned the house on February 28 to discuss the agenda of that requisition.