Infostani Sources- The caretaker government has decided to expedite the privatization of government institutions by introducing a presidential ordinance. This ordinance aims to establish a special tribunal to handle all privatization cases, proposing the constitutional abolition of the High Court’s jurisdiction. You can file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the decisions of the Special Tribunal within 60 days. This crucial decision comes a month after the scheduled hearing of the PIA privatization case in the Lahore High Court. Where Justice Raheel Kamran Shaikh emphasized the public interest and constitutional jurisdiction involved.
The caretaker government has limited powers as defined under Article 199 of the Constitution, and it cannot extinguish the jurisdiction of the High Courts. The supervising federal cabinet has approved the draft of the Privatization Commission Ordinance 2023, granting the President the authority to issue the ordinance at any time. However, concerns may arise regarding whether a caretaker government with limited powers can constitutionally restrict the jurisdiction of the High Courts, especially in cases without global agreements.
Privatization Confidence Boost: New Law, Swift Appeals, and Tribunal Oversight
Federal Minister for Privatization Fawad Hasan Fawad stated. The ordinance aims to instill confidence in investors who fear legal actions at various forums, hindering investments in the country. The new law proposes a single legal forum for privatization cases, with appeals only allowed in the Supreme Court. Fawad justified this step by emphasizing a unified forum for future privatization transactions.
Notably, the privatization of PIA is a top priority for Fawad Hasan Fawad, who now chairs the Cabinet Committee on Privatization. The federal cabinet has amended Section 28 of the Privatization Ordinance, 2000. Restricting High Courts from hearing civil and criminal cases related to privatization transactions. Under the new ad hoc law, only the Privatization Appellate Tribunal can hear such cases.
The ordinance sets its duration at 120 days. With the National Assembly having the authority to extend it for another 120 days. Constitutional expert Salman Akram Raja proposes directing High Courts not to hear such cases after implementing the new law. Citing an alternative forum. Fawad Hasan Fawad explained that the Privatization Appellate Tribunal comprises three members, including a Supreme Court or High Court appointee, who will handle appeals within 60 days.
Empowered Tribunal: Addressing Legal Challenges in Pending Cases
The head of the tribunal, empowered by the new law, can remove a tribunal member after providing a 30-day notice. Ensuring their fitness and absence of misconduct. Fawad Hasan Fawad emphasized the need to expedite pending cases through the new tribunal for decades. Addressing issues where investors have paid in full but lack ownership rights.
Fawad Hasan Fawad addresses concerns regarding potential legal challenges arising from the government’s ad hoc legislation since 2000. He cites the caretaker government’s authority under Section 230 of the Election Act, of 2017. The official gazette notification will announce the tribunal’s formation, along with members’ salaries and benefits, equal to the retiring head’s. The Tribunal will possess powers similar to Civil and Criminal Courts under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 and the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898. Enabling it to handle cases transferred from the High Court without new legislation.
Weaverex. Ltd powers this Article.