Two members of the Senate of Pakistan, Aitzaz Ahsan and Mian Raza Rabbani, voted for the Contempt of Court Act 2012. Both of them had expressed reservations about some provisions of the act and termed those provisions against the Constitution of Pakistan. Despite this they went ahead and voted in favour of the act. Didn’t they violate their oath, in which they had sworn to perform their functions honestly, to the best of their ability, in accordance with the Constitution and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, by voting in favour of the act? I believe their actions were driven by the fear of the Defection Clause in Article 63-A of the Constitution. However, if these elected political leaders can violate their oath and knowingly vote for a law which, in their own opinion, is against the Constitution, just to keep their Senate membership, how do they expect the judiciary and the military, which have much more power and interest than the members of Senate or National Assembly, to keep their oaths?
This also highlights some contradictions in the Constitution. On the one hand, our Constitution requires Senators and MNAs to swear to perform their functions honestly, in accordance with the Constitution. But, on the other hand, if a Senator or MNA decides, in accordance with his oath, not to vote for or against a money bill or an amendment bill, which he deems against the Constitution, he may, under Article 63A, end up ceasing to be a Senator or MNA as a price for acting in accordance with the oath and for performing his functions honestly.