LHC strikes down Punjab government’s Janashini Ordinance

By: News Desk      Published: 12:07 PM, 8 Jun, 2021
LHC strikes down Punjab government’s Janashini Ordinance
File photo of LHC.

What could be termed a big decision, the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday, on a petition filed by Punjab Bar Council, declared the Punjab government’s amendment ordinance in civil code procedure as null and void, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Under the ordinance, the Punjab government had given the authority to issue the succession certificate to the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA).

The 65-page decision, pronounced by Justice Shahid Kareem of the LHC, which is also being termed a judicial precedent, states that the Punjab government was not authorised to issue the amendment ordinance, adding the ordinance had ‘usurped’ litigants’ rights.

The verdict further reads that the provincial government did not even bother to consult the LHC before issuing the ordinance, and that the summary moved for the purpose reflected a dictatorial mindset.

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Furthermore, it says, that instructions given by the prime minister or the federal government to a provincial government to legislate on a certain matter amounted to weakening its authority.

The court observed that directions given by the prime minister to a provincial government to enact laws was not only unconstitutional but also dictatorial use of his powers.

Similarly, it said, the way the Punjab government submitted itself to the Centre’s command showed its meek mindset. “And the notion of surrendering to the Centre’s orders is against the principle of provincial autonomy as enshrined in the constitution,” the verdict says and adds that the provincial government by complying with the federal government’s instructions not only relinquished its authority to legislate but also compromised on its rights. “We should all bear this thing in mind that a country having a written constitution means that there should be rule of law in that country,” the verdict reads.

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Justice Shahid Kareem writes that all organs of the state will have to work within their ambits, and that frequent amendments to laws of the land had created an undesirable situation.

The judge further writes that the record shows that even draft of the ordinance was given by Centre to the Punjab government.