Even if speaker cites Article 5, no-confidence motion cannot be rejected: CJP


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Monday said that even if the speaker of the National Assembly cites Article 5 of the Constitution, the no-confidence motion cannot be rejected. A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Bandial and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Aijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel resumed hearing on the case filed by the joint Opposition a day earlier when the deputy speaker of the National Assembly barred parliamentarians from voting on the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, terming it “unconstitutional.” As a result, the CJP had taken a suo motu notice of the situation. PTI’s lawyer Babar Awan, in his arguments, said that he wanted to refer to the decision of the Supreme Court dated March 21, 2022. “The Attorney General had assured the court that no member of the Assembly would be prevented from appearing there. The Supreme Court did not take notice of the PTI’s allies in this regard.  Babar Awan said that the presidential reference should be heard with the present suo motu notice. “Record my request, Imran Khan has allowed me to say this before the court that we are ready to hold elections.” Upon hearing that, Justice Bandial told him “not to talk about politics in front of the judges.”  Justice Bandial maintained in a written judgment that his fellow judges had approached him and had expressed concern over the constitutional crisis the country was facing. During the hearing, PPP’s counsel Farooq H Naek referred to Article 54(3) and said that the National Assembly session was supposed to be convened within 14 days after a motion is submitted. “The no-trust motion was submitted on March 8, 2022, while the assembly session was called on March 25 instead of March 21. The NA deputy speaker adjourned session on March 25 after Fateha till March 28,” Naek said. The speaker didn’t provide any reason for not convening the meeting till March 20 after the motion was submitted, he added. At this, Justice Mandokhel objected that Naek’s case is related to the action of the speaker in Sunday’s NA session. “Tell [me] if the speaker was right or wrong,” the judge asked Naek. “If there are 100 members in the assembly, and of them, 50 are against it and only 25 support it. Wouldn’t the motion be dismissed if the majority is opposing it?” Justice Akhtar questioned. Naek said that if the majority says that the motion cannot be presented, then it cannot happen. He, however, added that it is the House that allows the motion to be presented, not the speaker. Justice Akhtar replied that if the government is in the majority in the NA, and if it votes against the motion, no motion will ever be moved.  “Does the speaker have the power not to allow the motion to be moved? What happens if the speaker does not allow motion?” he asked. 


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