The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Wednesday passed the Constitutional Amendment regulating suo motu jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (SC).
The Committee met under the chairmanship of Syed Ali Zafar and discussed in detail the constitutional amendments related to the role of the parliamentary committee in the appointment of judges. It proposed that in Article 178, which provides for the appointment of judges of Supreme Court, the criteria shall be based on seniority cum fitness so that the recent controversy could be laid to rest while the appointment of CJP would remain on seniority alone.
Ali Zafar stated that the suo motu jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 184 of the Constitution is an extremely important judicial function as it enabled the court to enforce the fundamental right of citizens but at the same time, the right to appeal against the judgment must be provided in accordance with Islamic injunctions. Accordingly, the committee unanimously proposed that Article 184(3) of the Constitution be amended to include the right of appeal therein.
The committee also directed that under the constitution in case of violation of code of conduct the judicial commission would decide the matter within 90 days. The committee took up the Protection of Parents Bill presented by the Law Minister. All the committee members agreed that the protection of parents was necessary, and parents should have the right to evict an adult child from the house owned by the parent.
The Chairman also stated that it was the social, moral, ethical responsibility of all children to give shelter to the parents in their home. However, the chairman pointed out to the Secretary Law that various lacunas in the law require amendments so that the law is in conformity with the requirements of the Constitution. It was pointed out to the Committee that the law appears to violate the fundamental right of ownership of property in as much as it also applies to the property owned by the children.
The committee accordingly directed the minister to amend the law as it seemed that the parents should not be allowed to throw out a child who is a minor nor should the minor be punished with one-year imprisonment as it would be unconstitutional and badly affect family life.
Senator Farooq H. Naek and Kamran Murtaza objected to the powers given to Deputy Commissioner and Police to arrest the children and evict them without course to the courts of law. It was decided that the Minister would bring an amended bill to the committee. The committee noticed with grave concern that there were no Income Tax and Service Tribunals in the whole of Balochistan and people had to go to Karachi.
Syed Ali Zafar directed the government to establish Public Service and Income Tax Tribunals in Quetta and to also provide the details as to why a federal building housing the federal tribunals cannot be proved in the province.
The Committee also decided to hold a public hearing starting from March 30 in Multan, Lahore, Peshawar and Abbottabad to debate, discuss and deliberate upon the issue of creation of new provinces. Senators Farooq Hamid Naek, Kamran Murtaza, Manzoor Ahmad Kakar attended the meeting while Senators Shahadat Awan, Mohammad Abdul Qadir, Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen participated as a mover. Minister of Law and Justice Farogh Naseem and Secretary Law and Justice were also in attendance.