SC intervenes to rescue ‘democracy’

* Court rules an extra-constitutional step by any authority or state institution will be deemed as complete violation of constitution

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that no extra-constitutional act would be permitted to any institution or authority, and all state functionaries should work within the ambit of the constitution.
A four-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nasirul Mulk and comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Justice Saqib Nisar and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa issued an interim order on the petition filed by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Kamran Murtaza. During proceedings on the petition, Chief Justice Mulk remarked, “The court has no concern with the unconstitutional demands” presented by the political parties. The top court said any extra-constitutional step would be deemed as complete violation of the constitution and equivalent to high treason.
The petitioner pleaded with the top court that the situation in the country is critical and the basic human rights have been suspended and called for a stay order against any “extra-constitutional act”. The court stated that 14 judges of the top court had already issued a stay order against any extra-constitutional act in the judgement passed on July 31, 2009. Justice Khosa noted that the petitioner fears a situation like that of November 3, 2007 when emergency was imposed in the country by the then military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
The apex court directed issuance of notices to the attorney general of Pakistan and other stakeholders, including the federal government, while terming the matter of national importance and significance. The apex court would resume hearing of the petition against the extra-constitutional acts on Monday. The petitioner had filed the petition under Article 184 (3) of the constitution, seeking the apex court’s directives that no authority or institution be permitted to take any steps contrary to the constitution of Pakistan.
While making the federation of Pakistan respondent through the law secretary the petitioner submitted to the court that all civil and civic rights of the people are being suspended due to political tension as a result of allegations of poll rigging during the last general elections. He added that Article 144 was imposed in several cities of the country and Article 245 in the federal capital, terming it a grave crisis.
The petitioner added “that in the circumstances mentioned, there are reasonable apprehensions that someone from the state functionaries or administrative heads having constitutional responsibilities may deviate from the constitution and laws of the land and take the law in hand to derail the democratic, legal system of the country to which a writ within the meaning of Article 184(3) of the constitution and of prohibition required to be issued to avoid from any extra constitutional step by any corner”.
Murtaza urged the court to declare that fundamental rights of the petitioner and other citizens of the country may not be violated by any person, including the administrative and constitutional heads of state, and they be prohibited and restrained from taking any extra-constitutional step in the present situation in any manner in the interest of justice.

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