European Journal of Law Reform

Artikel

Rule of Ordinance in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

A Question of Arbitrary Legislative Endowment

Keywords legislative authority of government in Pakistan, ordinance in English law, ordinance in British India, ordinance in Pakistan, emergency legislation by ordinance in Pakistan
Authors Mazhar Ilahi
Author's information

127256 Mazhar Ilahi
The author (mazharilahi@hotmail.com) is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, UK. Previously he has served in the judicial service of Pakistan as civil judge-cum-judicial magistrate and has also practiced as Advocate of High Courts in Pakistan.
  • Abstract

      The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan empowers the federal and provincial Governments via the President and the Governors of the respective provinces to enact the primary legislation independent of the representative legislatures in the form of Ordinances. However, the resulting enactment remains in force for a few months, and notionally, must be promulgated only under the circumstances of urgent necessity and when the national legislature is not in session. Yet, owing to the vagueness of the text of the relevant Constitutional provisions, the scope of this legislative authority has much potential for abuse, and it has so been alleged too, in numerous Constitutional petitions filed from time to time in the superior courts of Pakistan seeking the judicial review of the promulgating action on the ground of malafide etc. But the judicature in Pakistan has largely abstained from exercising its authority to keep itself from being stigmatized from the usual aftermath of the judicial pronouncement on questions of political fiat. Resultantly, the natural democratic right of the illiterate and ignorant people of Pakistan to be governed by laws made by the designated representative legislature is persistently being jeopardized. In this view of the matter, on the basis of an empirical study of the Ordinance and the emergency legislation in the United Kingdom, and the ensuing principles of good governance and democratic norms, this article argues that the Constitutional authority of the Governments in Pakistan to enact primary legislation by way of promulgating Ordinances is an arbitrary legislative endowment, and entails a review by a truly representative, legitimate and competent Constituent Assembly.

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