Realpolitik: Punjab Assembly speaker issues ruling against governor’s orders
Punjab Assembly (PA) Speaker Sibtain Khan Tuesday disposed of Governor Balighur Rehman’s order summoning a session of the provincial assembly to hold the vote of no-confidence for Chief Minister Parvez Elahi. The ongoing session of the house was then adjourned until Friday, December 23.
Having contended that Rehman’s order was illegal because a session of the house was already underway and a new session could thus not be called.
“Until and unless the current session is prorogued, the Governor cannot summon any fresh session,” the ruling held, adding, “the question of confidence in the Chief Minister in terms of Article 130(7) of the Constitution can be determined only in a session which is especially summoned for this purpose.”
He added that such a session can only be summoned once the current session is prorogued by the speaker in terms of Article 54 (3) read with Article 127 of the Constitution.
“It cannot be summoned by the Governor for the purposes of Article 130(7) while the current session is going on,” he added.
Further, he said that the court had directed in the Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo case that the vote cannot be held in less than 10 clear days between filing the motion and the vote.
Sibtain noted that the governor, had summoned a session of the house on June 14, 2022 Aiwan-e-Iqbal, Egerton Road, Lahore. Since that session was never prorogued, the Governor was not empowered to summon the session for vote of confidence.
He, thus, noted that Baligur Rehman’s orders were “not in accordance with the aforementioned provisions of the Constitution and Rules of Procedure, may not be processed any further; hence, disposed of accordingly.”
PA session adjourns
Tuesday’s session of the provincial assembly began after a delay of four hours.
During the session the quorum was pointed out. The bells were rung for five minutes in the house for members to gathers.
However, when the session resumed and a roll call was held for members present and it again came up short of the required count.
The session was then adjourned until Friday, December 23.
Interestingly, it is same day PTI plans to dissolve the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The province is under dark clouds of a brewing political storm since the PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced that he would resolve two provinces assemblies on December 23 to press the government for holding free and fair elections.