18th amendment cannot be challenged: Aitzaz

Former president Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, has said parliament has authority to change the fundamentals of the constitution and the judiciary can not interfere therein nor the Supreme Court (SC) can declare the amendment null and void.

He said this while talking to media men here Tuesday outside SC.

He cautioned that challenging the representative parliament of 170 million people would lead to confrontation.

About the threat of any clash among the institutions he said 18th amendment had been passed with full consensus among all the parties rather than with two thirds majority and all the parties including Jamaat-e-Islami had cast vote in favour of this amendment.

If 17 judges would nullify such a big mandate then clash would take place and institution, which was representative of 170 million people, would not sit mute, he cautioned.

“If all our friends who are talking of challenging the 18th amendment in the court want the whole system stands wrapped up. Do we want to cause harm to the judiciary”, he questioned.

He made it clear that bench of court of which Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was member had delivered judgment in lawyers forum case in 2005 that parliament had full powers to change basic structure of constitution and court could not make any interfere in it.

The existence of parliament and judiciary was made possible due to our struggle, he claimed. Under article 238 and 239 of he constitution no constitutional amendment could be challenged in the court, he underlined.
In lawyers forum case the court had rendered the verdict that LFO or 17th amendment could not be challenged in any court, he told. Zafar Ali Shah case was the only case whereby the limitations of constitutional amendments were set, he added.

“To my opinion SC will not set aside these amendments and it will give verdict keeping in view lawyers forum case. Review pending does not mean that any decision becomes inoperative. Several reviews are pending hearing in the courts. SC will also take into consideration article 238-239”, he remarked.

To a question he said he was not challenging the jurisdiction of the court for hearing the case but jurisdiction of hearing be not construed that I am accepting the powers of the court that it can nullify the amendment.

Responding to a question he said if a system under which judges have been making appointments of judges have given good result. What type of judges like justice Munir and Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar have come here, he added.

There were several articles of parliament under which the decision of SC had been rejected. Under articles 268, 269, 270 A,A not only one judgment but several verdicts had been rejected with one stroke of the pen. These articles were upheld and were not challenged by any one.

“I support the independence of parliament. All the things incorporated in 18th amendment were good things. I am sorry Raza Rabbani has consented to delete the clause related to intra party elections. Giving the reins to un -elected leaders are negative things”, he held.

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