Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah has raised objections on the new notification of NFC, saying it is against the Constitution to cut funds from the provincial funds.
Three articles of the NFC terms of reference are against the Constitution, he said in his letter to the PM, objecting to different clauses of the terms of reference of the freshly-issued notification of the federal government to reconstitute the National Finance Commission while terming them not in conformity with the Constitution.
The letter states: “This is with reference to the above mentioned subject and in continuation of my earlier letters dated 14.05.2020 and 08.06.2020. 2. At the very outset, let me appreciate the fact that you acceded to my request regarding the illegal and unlawful constitution of National Finance Commission by issuing a fresh Notification dated 21.07.2020. The Notification with regards to the members of National Finance Commission appears to be in consonance of Article 160(1) of the Constitution.
It is further stated that in my above letters, besides the members of the National Finance Commission, I had also objected to the terms of reference that were earlier notified. In particular, I had submitted that sub-clauses (d) to (h) of clause 3 of the Notification issued on 12th May, 2020 are beyond terms specified for the National Finance Commission to make recommendations under Article 160 (2) of the Constitution. I appreciate that this contention was also agreed by you and these sub-clauses are deleted in the fresh Notification dated 2 1.07.2020. 4. However, I again submit that the clause nos. 2 (d) to (f) in the freshly issued Notification is not as per the Constitution.
In this regard, I place reliance on what is expressly stated in the Constitution and a perusal of the same shows that the said TORs are not mentioned therein. Moreover, I also place reliance on the Title of Chapter-i, Part-6 of the Constitution which states that it will deal with distribution of revenue between the Federation and Provinces.”
The chief minister said it was very clear that the said chapter was only limited to the distribution of revenue and not issues pertaining to financial expenses. “I may also draw your attention to Articles 78 to 83 of the Constitution which deal with expenditure of the Federal Government and Articles 118 to 123 which deal with expenditure of the Provincial Government.” He said in each case, the respective legislature (National Assembly of Pakistan in case of Federal expenses and Provincial Assembly in case of provincial expenses) was authorized to approve the respective expenditure. “The National Finance Commission cannot take over the role which the Constitution explicitly gives to the legislature.”
“It is very clear from the above, that TOR Nos. 2 (d) to (f) are not in conformity with what is stated in our Constitution. Therefore, the same may be omitted/deleted from the said Notification. Thanking you and hoping that we shall all endeavour to uphold the Constitution and enforce rule of law through our actions.”
The copies of the letter containing the subject “Constitution of National Finance Commission” have also been sent to the chief ministers and finance ministers of the three provinces.