ISLAMABAD: After the Lahore High Court, the Supreme Court has been moved against the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, on the grounds that it creates an exception by giving relief to civil servants and businessmen.

Journalist Farrukh Nawaz Bhatti filed a petition on Monday through Advocate Dr G.M. Chaudhry requesting the court to suspend the operation of the new ordinance till the final disposal of the petition.

On Dec 26, the government had provided relief to the businessmen and bureaucrats by promulgating an ordinance to amendment the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

The new ordinance, the petition argued, allows the public and civil servants to allegedly run the affairs of state according to their whims as the law provides a blanket authority to violate the procedures under the pretext of good faith.

Petitioner argues that fresh ordinance is in violation of fundamental rights

The petition says that it may be argued for the sake of defence there are only a few provisions of the ordinance which were ultra vires of the Constitution whereas some were within it. But it is difficult to separate such provisions from this ordinance as these were vitiating the entire legislative scheme of the ordinance thus making it impossible judicial scrutiny and review under Article 8 of the Constitution to separate bad parts from the good parts.

The petitioner pleaded that in the interest of justice, equality, rule of law, due process of law and procedure, end of exploitation and discrimination, the ordinance should be declared as ultra vires of the Constitution and void initio.

He has also sought a direction from the apex court for the federal government to discharge its constitutional and legislative responsibility under Article 212(1)(b) of the Constitution regarding enactment of the law.

The petitioner argued that the new ordinance is in violation of different provisions of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution against the elimination of exploitation provided in Article 3 and also against the rule of law and procedure as contained in Article 4.

He alleged that the new ordinance was aimed at dividing the general public and society on “economic class basis”, against the principles of democracy, non-exploitation, non-discrimination and “public power and executive authority” as a sacred trust.

When the entire world is having strict regulatory regimes to check and control illegal and exploitative activities of the businessmen who only have loyalty to their businesses, commercial profits and gains the new ordinance has done otherwise.

The petition has contended that the federal government, instead of discharging its legislative responsibility under Article 212(1)(b) of the Constitution, has failed to perform its constitutional duty and going to insulate and save the executive and its collaborators.

Moreover the federal government is standing with tax evaders and corrupt elements when it should be bucking up the tax payers, loyal citizens and create more loyalty and obedience towards law.

The petitioner argued that the ordinance proved that the federal government has failed to establish a fair and just economic order without any discrimination based on rule of law and without exploitation under the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2019


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