Governor rejects Punjab Assembly Speaker’s ruling on no-trust session
Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman on Wednesday evening rejected a ruling of the Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan who had decided against calling a session of the provincial assembly for a vote of no confidence against Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi.
In a four-page order issued by Rehman on Wednesday evening, Governor Rehman completely rejected the arguments presented by Speaker Sibtain Khan in his ruling, terming them as “illegal and unconstitutional”.
He further noted that Sibtain as Speaker was empowered, after the issuance of the order by the Governor, to prorogue the existing session and to summon a session for vote of no confidence at the time directed by the governor.
“Regards the Assembly being in session, having been summoned by your goodself, under clause (3) of Article 54 read with Article 127, please note that the current session of the Punjab Assembly can only be prorogued by you,” the order read.
“Therefore, by ‘summoning of session’ for a vote under Article 130(7) in the aforenoted Order, it is implied that if the ongoing session was prorogued by your goodself at any time before 1600hrs today, a new session was required to be summoned at 1600hrs on December 21, 2022 for a vote under Article 130(7).”
Alternatively, a sitting of the assembly at the noted time and date could have been summoned in the 41 st Session of the Assembly, which your goodself has also noted that it was summoned by me and was never prorogued; or a fresh session specifically summoned for the purposes of requiring the Chief Minister to obtain the vote of confidence: However, nowhere does the Constitution prevent Article 130(7) to take effect if the assembly is already in session.
“I would like to remind your goodself that as the worthy Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab, you have taken oath, as provided in Third Schedule of the Constitution to discharge your duties and perform your functions honestly, to the best of your ability and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution, the law and the rules of the Assembly,” Rehman said.
He went on to remind Sibtain that he had taken an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of Pakistan” and not to allow his “personal interest to influence your official conduct or your official decisions.”
“As the custodian of the House and holder of an esteemed constitutional office, it was imperative for your goodself not to act in a partisan manner; or for that matter, in any other way that violates your oath.”
The governor further said that as per the Constitution, the assembly’s currently being in session or otherwise does not have any effect whatsoever on the operation of Article 130(7).
Rehman also deemed the ruling illegal, stating that under sub-rule (1 ), a ruling on interpretation and enforcement of the relevant articles of the constitution as regulate the business of the assembly can only be given on a ‘point of order’.
“It is evident that no point of Order was raised on the floor of the house on December 20, 2022, and as it seems, your goodself has given the ruling in your office, which is in violation of Rule 209(1 ).”
“In view of the above, your Ruling has no bearing on the aforenoted Order dated December 19, 2022,” he directed.