: Is Parliament Supreme? #WorldNEWSAll In countries which have a written Constitution, like the USA, India and Pakistan, it is the Constitution which is supreme, not Parliament. Supporters of the ruling
Is Parliament Supreme? #WorldNEWSAll
In countries which have a written Constitution, like the USA, India and Pakistan, it is the Constitution which is supreme, not Parliament.
Supporters of the ruling PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) in Pakistan are saying that the verdict of the Pakistan Supreme Court ordering elections to the Punjab Provincial Assembly to be held on 14th May need not be followed, since the Pakistan Parliament, which is dominated by the PDM (members belonging to Imran Khans PTI have resigned from it) has by a resolution rejected it, and Parliament is supreme in Pakistan.
Is this contention and the resolution of Parliament valid?
I submit they are not.
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Parliament is no doubt supreme in countries which have an unwritten Constitution like the UK. But in countries which have a written Constitution, like the USA, India and Pakistan, it is the Constitution which is supreme, not Parliament. So if an act of Parliament violates the Constitution it is null and void.
Chief Justice Marshall
This principle was first enunciated in the famous decision of the US Supreme Court in Marbury vs Madison in 1803 (5 US 137), and has been followed ever since.
In this decision Chief Justice Marshall, speaking for the Court, held that in the event of conflict between the Constitution and statutory laws passed by Congress ( the American Parliament ), the constitutional law must prevail, as the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. .
Chief Justice Marshall said that denying the supremacy of the Constitution over Congresss acts would mean that courts must close their eyes on the Constitution, and see only the law made by the legislature. He observed :
Those, then, who controvert the principle that the Constitution is to be considered as the paramount law are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the Constitution, and see only the law.
This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written Constitutions. It would declare that an act which, according to the Constitution is entirely void, is yet obligatory. It would declare that if the legislature does what is expressly forbidden by the Constitution, such act, notwithstanding the express prohibition, is in reality effectual. It would be giving to the legislature an omnipotence, while in the same breath it professes to restrict its powers. It is prescribing limits to the powers of the legislature, and yet declaring that those limits may be ignored at pleasure by the legislature.
In what has become the most famous and frequently quoted line of his judgment, Marshall wrote:
It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.
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