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Overview of Article 189 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 189 is an integral component of Pakistan’s constitutional fabric and provides legal continuity and coherence. This constitutional clause stipulates that decisions of the Supreme Court are binding on all other courts within Pakistan; however, their binding effect may differ according to case type and other factors. In this blog post, we attempt to demystify Article 189 by exploring its various nuances and understanding its impact on the legal landscape of Pakistan.
Article 189 States
189. Decisions of Supreme Court binding on other Courts
Any decision of the Supreme Court shall, to the extent that it decides a question of law or is based upon or enunciates a principle of law, be binding on all other courts in Pakistan.
Key Points of Article 189 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Binding Nature: At the core of Article 189 lies its provision that Supreme Court decisions are binding precedents with far reaching implications. When they pronounce their decisions, these don’t just impact that specific case but become binding legal precedents with wider implications.
- Question of Law Requirement: For a decision to be legally binding, it must address an issue of law. This demonstrates the Supreme Court’s unique role of interpreting legal principles and settling legal disputes that transcend individual cases.
- Principle of Law Requirement: The binding effect extends beyond the immediate case to decisions based upon or enunciating a principle of law. This recognizes the Supreme Court’s role as a setter of legal standards and principles that guide the entire legal system.
- Consistency in Legal Interpretation: Article 189, by design, fosters a sense of consistency in the interpretation and application of laws. It ensures that legal principles are not subject to arbitrary shifts but are grounded in the reasoned decisions of the highest judicial authority.
Crux of Article 189 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At the crux of Article 189 is the recognition of the Supreme Court as the apex legal authority, charged with the responsibility of shaping legal doctrine and providing clarity on matters of law. The provision acknowledges that the decisions of the Supreme Court serve as beacons, illuminating the legal landscape for all other courts.
The dual requirement of deciding a question of law and being based upon or enunciating a principle of law ensures that the binding effect is reserved for decisions that have a substantive impact on legal interpretation and principles. This thoughtful limitation prevents undue influence on routine matters while allowing for a profound impact on legal precedents.
Conclusion: Article 189 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 189 emerges as a linchpin in the constitutional architecture of Pakistan, fostering legal coherence and certainty. It embodies the principle that the highest court’s decisions are not isolated events but pillars upon which the entire legal edifice stands.
As we navigate the intricate contours of the 1973 constitution of Pakistan, Article 189 stands as a testament to the foresight of the constitutional framers. It is a mechanism that ensures that the evolution of legal principles is guided by a central authority, fostering a legal system that is both robust and responsive to the evolving needs of a dynamic society.