Table of Contents
Overview of Article 117 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Embedded within the constitutional fabric of Pakistan, Article 117 stands as a guiding principle dictating the fate of bills pending in Provincial Assemblies under specific circumstances. This article, part of the 1973 Constitution, provides clarity on whether a bill retains its status during the prorogation of an Assembly and what happens to it in the event of the Assembly’s dissolution.
Article 117 States
117. Bill not to lapse on prorogation, etc.
- A Bill pending in a Provincial Assembly shall not lapse by reason of the prorogation of the Assembly.
- A Bill pending in a Provincial Assembly shall lapse on the dissolution of the Assembly.
Key Points of Article 117 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Prorogation Does Not Lead to Lapse: A fundamental aspect of Article 117(1) is that the prorogation of a Provincial Assembly does not result in the lapse of bills. Prorogation, which represents the temporary suspension of a legislative session, does not erase the progress made on pending bills.
- Lapse upon Assembly Dissolution: In contrast, Article 117(2) dictates that if a Provincial Assembly is dissolved, any bills pending within that Assembly shall lapse. This means that the legislative journey of those bills is reset, and they must go through the entire process anew in the subsequent Assembly.
- Protecting Legislative Continuity: The key intent behind Article 117 is to ensure a degree of continuity in the legislative process. Prorogation, which is a routine part of the parliamentary calendar, does not disrupt the momentum of bills, allowing for a seamless resumption of legislative work when the Assembly reconvenes.
- Implications for Lawmaking: The implications of Article 117 are significant for the legislative landscape. The provision allows for flexibility during periods of temporary suspension (prorogation) while enforcing a fresh start for bills in the face of more substantial changes, such as the dissolution of the Assembly.
Crux of Article 117 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 117 strikes a delicate balance between the need for legislative continuity and the recognition of constitutional events that necessitate a fresh legislative start. By safeguarding bills from lapsing during prorogation, it acknowledges the cyclical nature of parliamentary sessions while prioritizing the preservation of legislative progress.
However, the provision also underscores the significance of the dissolution of a Provincial Assembly as a transformative event. When an Assembly is dissolved, the legislative slate is wiped clean, reflecting the constitutional reset button that comes with a change in the Assembly’s composition.
Conclusion: Article 117 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 117 serves as a linchpin in the constitutional orchestration of legislative processes within Provincial Assemblies. It aligns with the broader principles of parliamentary governance, acknowledging the ebb and flow of legislative sessions while instituting safeguards against the abrupt termination of legislative efforts.
As we navigate the intricate terrain of the Constitution of Pakistan, Article 117 emerges as a testament to the framers’ foresight. It embodies the delicate equilibrium between preserving the continuity of legislative work during routine pauses and respecting the transformative nature of Assembly dissolution. This provision ensures that the legislative journey is both resilient and adaptive, reflecting the evolving needs and circumstances within the democratic framework.