For and against the SC verdict in lifetime disqualification case
This incongruity raises pertinent questions about the prerequisites for those entrusted with the responsibility of making laws. Should not the guardians of legislation be held to at least the same standard of integrity as individuals seeking far less influential positions within the system?
Ansar M Bhatti
Islamabad: The recent Supreme Court verdict, which abolishes lifetime disqualification, has elicited a varied response from the general public and the legal community. While some express approval, others harbor concerns, particularly among legal experts. There is a prevailing sentiment that this decision might set a precedent, potentially leading to a series of revisitations by future chief justices.
Experts argue that the possibility of a nine-member bench overturning this verdict raises questions about the stability and consistency of judicial decisions. This apprehension prompts reflection on the potential for a cycle of reversals, undermining the perceived sanctity of legal decisions.
Legal scholars contend that the Supreme Court could have opted for a different approach, considering the precedent set by the five-member bench in the Samiullah Baloch case. They suggest that, instead of overturning Samiullah Baloch, the court could have recommended leaving the matter to the new parliament for resolution through a constitutional amendment to Article 62 F, requiring a two-thirds majority.
This alternative course of action would ensure a more stable and democratic process, allowing elected representatives to deliberate and decide on issues of constitutional significance. It emphasizes the importance of all-inclusive parliamentary involvement in shaping and amending fundamental laws, maintaining the balance between the judiciary and the legislative branches.
It remains uncertain whether the comprehensive judgment will address these questions. However, one certainty is that the court might articulate in its detailed decision that amending Article 62 F requires a two-thirds majority.
During the court proceedings, some judges correctly noted that the government had a significant opportunity to modify this article through the 18th Amendment, yet they consciously avoided addressing this matter. The Chief Justice’s comments on this issue strongly suggest that parliamentarians might have refrained from amending the article due to concerns about potential backlash from the clergy.
As we delve into the provisions of Article 62 F, which specifically addresses the conduct of parliamentarians, a noteworthy discrepancy emerges. The stipulation dictates that individuals aspiring to hold parliamentary positions must embody qualities such as fairness, righteousness, honesty, and truthfulness.
In a striking contrast, individuals vying for even modest roles like a peon or an attendant in Pakistan are required to furnish a police character certificate, affirming their clean record and lack of involvement in any malpractices. This certificate explicitly attests that no legal cases have been lodged against them in any court of law.
This incongruity raises pertinent questions about the prerequisites for those entrusted with the responsibility of making laws. Should not the guardians of legislation be held to at least the same standard of integrity as individuals seeking far less influential positions within the system? Addressing this disparity could foster a more equitable and transparent approach to the selection and conduct of parliamentarians, aligning with the principles of fairness and accountability that are foundational to a robust democratic framework.
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