The Crisis In Constitutionalism.

The Constitution and its Preamble are built on a trichotomy that separates powers between the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary, and each one must operate within its respective domain. Thus, whilst the Legislature is fully empowered to make laws or amend the Constitution, it is the superior Courts that will ascertain their constitutionality and interpret them because the Constitution itself has empowered them. Every few decades, the country witnesses political wrangling of a similar sort. Nationalist sentiments are evoked, and political rivals are dubbed security risks - something that only causes mayhem and undermines democracy. Over the past few months, the country once again finds itself mired in a constitutional and political crisis that has deepened the social and political divisions among the masses. The whole political drama has once again put the turncoats in the spotlight.

Political instability began with the motion of vote of no confidence. What followed led to political and constitutional chaos in the country when the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly rejected the motion of vote of no confidence through his ruling, which later on, was declared ultra vires by the Honourable Supreme Court through a detailed judgment, and later on, the motion of vote of no confidence was succeeded, bringing the political atmosphere in Pakistan to a boiling point. Meanwhile, a Presidential Reference was filed, and Article 63A of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 was interpreted by the Honourable Supreme Court in a 3-2 split judgment rendered on 17th May 2022. The majority held that votes cast by members of an assembly in violation of a direction by their party would stand disregarded in an election or vote of no-confidence regarding the prime minister or a chief minister. In its interpretation, the court held which is reproduced hereunder:- It is our view that the vote of any member (including a deemed member) of a Parliamentary Party in a House that is cast contrary to any direction issued by the latter in terms of para (b) of clause (1) of Article 63-A cannot be counted and must be disregarded, and this is so regardless of whether the Party Head, after such vote, proceeds to take, or refrains from taking, the action that would result in a declaration of defection. In case the Election Commission of Pakistan confirms the declaration sent by a Party Head against a member, he/she shall cease to be a Member of the House.


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