Govt files reference in SC for interpretation of Article 63(A)

Govt files reference in SC for interpretation of Article 63(A)

Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): The Federal Government on Monday filed a reference before the Supreme Court (SC) for the interpretation of Article 63(A).

The larger bench of the SC will start the proceedings from March 24 as the court issued notices to all political parties. 

Attorney-General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan filed the reference on behalf of President Dr Arif Alvi.

The AGP apprised the court that the federal government has filed a reference to seek the opinion of the top court in the presidential reference under the jurisdiction of the Constitution’s Article 186.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government sought SC’s assistance in voting of dissent members, who opposed the party policy, in a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The govt pleaded for lifetime disqualification of rebel lawmakers, saying it is imperative for a transparent democracy as disqualification of merely a few days is not enough to deter members from dissenting.

It maintained that a member who got elected on a party’s manifesto damages the trust of the people through open dissent ahead of no-trust while it also added that of a member wishes to make a conscientious decision, they should step down from the assembly and get re-elected. 

During the hearing Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial also remarked that the process would not interrupt the political proceedings happening in the country, but it would only consider legal perspectives on the issue.

All of this was the assembly's "internal matter", the chief justice observed, adding that it would be "better if the assembly's fight was fought inside the assembly".

"The court has to ensure that nobody's right is affected [and] nobody is deprived from voting because of any event," he said. "Voting is a constitutional right of the members."

The Supreme Court has to decide in accordance with the law and the Constitution, Justice Bandial said, adding that the court has not yet been "convinced to interfere in the assembly's proceedings".

AGP told the court that no lawmaker would be stopped from voting on the no-trust move, however, he maintained that action will be taken against those voting against party policy under Article 63 (A).

Meanwhile, Speaker Asad Qaiser convened a crucial session of the National Assembly on March 25 (Friday) to deliberate on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

According to a notification issued by the NA secretariat, the session of the lower house will be held at Parliament House on Friday at 11am.