Constitution disallows PM’s ‘solo flight’: SC rejects govt’s review appeal

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ISLAMABAD (Parliament Times) – Supreme Court (SC) on Friday has dismissed the government’s review plea over matter pertaining to Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif’s powers, stating that the premier cannot bypass the cabinet.

During the hearing, Justice Saqib Nisar said that PM is not permitted to take decision on financial matters without federal cabinet s consent as there is no room for PM’s ‘solo flight’ in Constitution.

“The decisions of the Federal Government are the decisions of the Cabinet and not of the Prime Minister. Any decisions taken by the Prime Minister on his own initiative lack the authority of the law or the Constitution,” he added.

Meanwhile, government lawyers said that strong PM is required to run official affairs.

The judge reiterated that exemption and imposition of the tax come under federation’s authorities.

On August 18, SC announced that the Prime Minister cannot take decisions onfinancial matters without the federal cabinet’s approval.

“The Prime Minister cannot take decisions by himself, or by supplanting or ignoring the Cabinet because the power to take decisions is vested with the Federal Government i.e. the Cabinet, and unilateral decisions taken by him would be a usurpation of power,” stated Justice Saqib Nisar in a judgment announced on a plea against the notification of increased imposition of levy tax.

The apex court also noted that the ordinance making power can only be exercised after a prior consideration by the Cabinet. An ordinance issued without the prior approval of the Cabinet is not valid. Similarly, no bill can be moved in Parliament on behalf of the Federal Government without having been approved in advance by the Cabinet.

The Cabinet has to be given a reasonable opportunity to consider, deliberate on and take decisions in relation to all proposed legislation, including the Finance Bill or Ordinance or Act. Actions by the Prime Minister on his own, in this regard, are not valid and are declared ultra vires.