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Overview of Article 123 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan 1973, a cornerstone of the nation’s governance, intricately defines the mechanisms governing financial matters. Within its pages, Article 123 stands as a critical provision, outlining the authentication and presentation process for schedules detailing authorized expenditure. This article plays a pivotal role in upholding transparency and accountability in the nation’s fiscal affairs.
Article 123 States
123. Authentication of schedule of authorised expenditure
- The Chief Minister shall authenticate by his signature a schedule specifying :-
- the grants made or deemed to have been made by the Provincial Assembly under Article 122 and
- the several sums required to meet the expenditure charged upon the Provincial Consolidated Fund but not exceeding, in the case of any sum, the sum shown in the statement previously laid before the Assembly.
- The schedule so authenticated shall be laid before the Provincial Assembly, but shall not be open to discussion or vote thereon.
- Subject to the Constitution, no expenditure from the Provincial Consolidated Fund shall be deemed to be duly authorized unless it is specified in the schedule so authenticated and such schedule is laid before the Provincial Assembly as required by clause (2).
Key Points of Article 123 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Authentication by the Chief Minister:
- The Chief Minister is entrusted with the authentication of a schedule, adding a personal seal of approval to the financial dispositions.
- The schedule encompasses grants made by the Provincial Assembly under Article 122 and the sums designated for meeting expenditure charged upon the Provincial Consolidated Fund.
- Presentation to the Provincial Assembly:
- The authenticated schedule is then presented before the Provincial Assembly, ensuring that the elected representatives are informed about the financial landscape.
- Interestingly, the schedule is not open to discussion or voting, suggesting a procedural aspect to streamline the budgetary process.
- Authorization of Expenditure:
- No expenditure from the Provincial Consolidated Fund is considered duly authorized unless:
- It is specified in the schedule authenticated by the Chief Minister.
- The schedule is laid before the Provincial Assembly as mandated by the constitutional clause.
Crux of Article 123 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 123 is a safeguard against unauthorized or unaccounted-for expenditures. The Chief Minister’s authentication injects a sense of responsibility and transparency into the budgetary process. By presenting the authenticated schedule to the Provincial Assembly, the constitutional provision ensures that elected representatives are aware of and can scrutinize the financial decisions of the government.
The provision that the schedule is not open to discussion or vote underlines a procedural efficiency aimed at expediting the budgetary process. While this might limit direct involvement by the Assembly in detailed discussions, it streamlines the approval of authorized expenditures, aligning with the broader goal of fiscal responsibility.
Conclusion: Article 123 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 123 of Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution serves as a keystone to its financial governance, standing as evidence of transparency, accountability and adherence to constitutional processes when managing fiscal affairs in Pakistan provinces.
The Chief Minister’s authentication and the subsequent presentation of the schedule to the Provincial Assembly create a system of checks and balances, ensuring that financial decisions align with constitutional mandates. The provision that no expenditure is deemed authorized unless specified in the authenticated schedule reinforces the commitment to financial discipline and accountability.
As we navigate the complexities of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, understanding Article 123 provides a lens into the intricate web of financial governance. It is not just a set of rules; it is a framework designed to ensure that the financial decisions of the government are rooted in transparency and subject to scrutiny.