SAPMs and Advisors cannot be part of cabinet meetings: IHC
Islamabad, 8th December: Prime Minister’s advisors and special assistants can not be part of or chair cabinet committees.
According to reports, the Islamabad High Court has ruled that the SAPMs and advisors have no executive authority placed in them to chair or become members of cabinet committees.
IHC said in its detailed order, “The special assistant to the prime minister is not a minister of state or a federal minister but only enjoys the status for the purposes of perks and privileges. He cannot address the parliament, nor has any executive authority vested in him. He also is not a member of the cabinet and cannot take part in the proceedings of the same.”.
According to reports from the Geo News, the judgment was issued by a division bench comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Ghulam Azam Qambrani in a petition filed by PML-N lawmaker Barrister Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha challenging the inclusion of Shaikh, Advisor to PM on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain and Advisor to PM on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood in the CCoP.
The bench set aside the notification regarding the formation of the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP).
The judgment said that according to the Article 93 of the Constitution the prime minister is allowed to appoint up to five advisors and conferring of a federal minister status on an advisor is “only for the purpose of perks and privileges” and “does not make the advisor a federal minister as such”.
It further ruled that the advisor to the premier is not a member of the cabinet, cannot participate in the proceedings hence can also not be a member or even chair a committee cabinet.
However, the judgment explains that granting the status of minister of state would make special assistant a person of that designation. The status is only for the purpose of perks and privileges.
Geo News also reported that the special assistants to the premier are by no means members of the cabinet as they are not elected persons and/ or federal ministers.
The judgment noted that the bench disagreed with the deputy attorney general’s contention that the prime minister may appoint any member of the cabinet as a member of the committee of the cabinet under Sub-rule 2 of Rule 17.
“We are unable to agree with this argument of the learned Deputy Attorney General as it seems to be in violation of the Constitution and the law in as much as if it was to be inferred or held that though a non-elected person cannot be a Member of the Cabinet yet he can be a Member of the Committee of the Cabinet and even can chair the same, it would be in the negation of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973,” reads the verdict.
“Undoubtedly, on special requests, persons can be called in by the committee but no person can be the chairman or a member of the committee of the cabinet, who is not a member of the cabinet.”
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