Wednesday, November 08, 2023
ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani barred Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi from introducing a bill when the interim government's to frame laws was strongly questioned by the senators, The News reported Wednesday.
Solangi wanted to move the Motion Pictures (Amendment) Bill, however, ex-chairman Senate Raza Rabbani on a point of order contended that caretaker governments do not enjoy the powers to legislate.
He pointed out that it was for the first time in the parliamentary history of the country, after the introduction of the concept of caretakers in the Constitution, that an interim government has brought legislative business before the Senate.
Only a government commanding majority in either House of Parliament can move a bill, Rabbani insisted, adding that in a parliamentary form of government, only members can move a bill in a House.
The former chairman urged the chair not to allow setting such bad precedence under his chairmanship that an unelected individual representing a caretaker government moves legislation, requesting him to drop the agenda item from the orders of the day.
In reply to him, Solangi said he has stood by the Constitution, law and democracy throughout his life and there was no possibility of any change in it.
The information minister said he would respect any decision taken by the House, prompting the chair to observe, “if there is no urgency, let us wait for the elected government. Let us defer this. I will examine it and get opinion and then will talk on this on Friday”.
Speaking on the notice to draw the attention of the minister-in-charge of the Cabinet Division towards the issuance of a notification on August 23 whereby the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) has been constituted, Senator Rabbani contended that the caretaker prime minister’s very step is unconstitutional.
However, Solangi rose to clarify the CCLC has been constituted not for primary legislation, but for subsidiary rule-making. He rejected the reservations expressed by Rabbani on the committee’s formation and ToRs, saying it has been constituted under the rules of business.
The minister added the Constitution also does not bar the caretaker government from laying ordinances, though there is no mention of a caretaker government. He said that under Article 89 of the Constitution, emergency legislation is also permissible.
Solangi also said the main purpose of the committee is to lend support to the cabinet’s secretariat functions.
Rabbani was again on his feet to ask the minister through the chair that the committee’s notification may be placed in the House to find out what are the ToRs.