ISLAMABAD - A constitutional petition was moved in the Supreme Court (SC) here on Monday, challenging amendments in the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 2019.

The petitioner prayed to the apex court to declare the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, ultra vires of the Constitution, void ab initio and suspend its operation till the disposal of the petition.

The petition, filed by Farrukh Nawaz Bhatti, Young Journalists Association of Pakistan (YJAP) President, under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, named Ministry of Law and Justice, Prime Minister Imran Khan, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) as respondents.

In his petition, Bhatti stated that the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, was an attempt to distort the principle of “prescribed manner and method” by creating an exception and allowing the civil servants, public servants and bureaucracy to run the affairs of the state according to their whims and wishes on the pretext of “procedural lapses”.

He added that President Dr Arif Alvi had promulgated the ordinance on the advice of the federal government, which was in violation of different provisions of the Fundamental Rights as guaranteed in the Constitution.

“The new law is against the principle of elimination of exploitation provided in Article 3 and also against the Rule of Law and Procedure as contained in Article 4,” the petitioner argued.

He maintained that making and promulgation of the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, was a conspiracy to divide the nation “On Economic Class Basis”.

The petitioner contended that while regimes the world over were toughening regulatory measures to check illegal, ill-gotten and exploitative gains, in Pakistan it was the opposite as the Ordinance was promulgated only to protect some corrupt elements, which was not permissible otherwise; under the provisions of the Constitution.

He continued that the acts of the respondents were highly exploitative, class-based, non-transparent, non-competitive and in violation of open competition in free market and fair-play constituting violation of Fundamental Rights of the Petitioner as guaranteed under Articles 8, 9, 14, 18 and 25 read with Preamble of the Constitution and Articles 2A, 3 and 4 as well as Article 37 and 38 of the Constitution.

He alleged that the federal government, instead of standing with the taxpayers and loyal citizens, was standing with tax evaders and corrupt elements of the country.

Bhatti contended that the federal government instead of discharging its legislative responsibility under Article 212 (1)(b) had failed to perform its constitutional duty and instead was going to insulate and save the executive and its collaborators in criminal and tortuous acts from its tortuous liability under the provisions of the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, which is not sustainable under the said Article read with Article read with the Articles 3,4,5,8 and 25 of Constitution and whether such action are permissible under the Constitution.

PETITION TO BE HEARD

AFTER HOLIDAYS

Staff Reporter from Lahore adds: The petition moved against the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 would be taken up after winter holidays, the Lahore high Court said on Monday, holding that it cannot be fixed immediately.