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Overview of Article 130 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, adopted in 1973, serves as the supreme legal document, shaping the nation’s governance. Among its various articles, Article 130 stands out as a pivotal component, delineating the structure and functioning of the Cabinet and Chief Minister. This article unfolds the intricate details of Article 130, providing insights into its key provisions and their implications on the political landscape.
Article 130 States
130. The Cabinet:
- There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers, with the Chief Minister at its head, to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions.
- The Provincial Assembly shall meet on the twenty-first day following the day on which a general election to the Assembly is held, unless sooner summoned by the Governor.
- After the election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, the Provincial Assembly shall, to the exclusion of any other business, proceed to elect without debate one of its members to be the Chief Minister.
- The Chief Minister shall be elected by the votes of the majority of the total membership of the Provincial Assembly:
Provided that, if no member secures such majority in the first poll, a second poll shall be held between the members who secure the two highest numbers of votes in the first poll and the member who secures a majority of votes of the members present and voting shall be declared to have been elected as Chief Minister:
Provided further that, if the number of votes secured by two or more members securing the highest number of votes is equal, further polls shall be held between them until one of them secures a majority of votes of the members present and voting.
- The member elected under clause (4) shall be called upon by the Governor to assume the office of Chief Minister and he shall, before entering upon the office, make before the President oath in the form set out in the Third Schedule:
Provided that there shall be no restriction on the number of terms for the office of the Chief Minister.
- The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to the Provincial Assembly and the total strength of the Cabinet shall not exceed fifteen members or eleven percent of the total membership of a Provincial Assembly, whichever is higher:
Provided that the aforesaid limit shall be effective from the next general elections after the commencement of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010.
- The Chief Minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor, but the Governor shall not exercise his powers under this clause unless he is satisfied that the Chief Minister does not command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Provincial Assembly, in which case he shall summon the Provincial Assembly and require the Chief Minister to obtain a vote of confidence from the Assembly.
- The Chief Minister may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office.
- A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Provincial Assembly shall, at the expiration of that period, cease to be a Minister and shall not before the dissolution of that Assembly be again appointed a Minister unless he is elected a member of that Assembly.
- Nothing in this Article shall be construed as disqualifying the Chief Minister or any other Minister for continuing in office during any period during which the Provincial Assembly stands dissolved, or as preventing the appointment of any person as Chief Minister or other Minister during any such period.
- The Chief Minister shall not appoint more than five Advisers.
Key Points of Article 130 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Cabinet Composition: The article establishes the Cabinet of Ministers, led by the Chief Minister, as the primary advisory body to the Governor.
- Provincial Assembly Dynamics: Article 130 outlines the timeline for the Provincial Assembly to convene, emphasizing its significance in the political process.
- Election of Chief Minister: The process of electing the Chief Minister is detailed, involving multiple polls if necessary, ensuring a majority mandate.
- Terms and Responsibilities: The Chief Minister holds office at the Governor’s pleasure, with no restrictions on the number of terms. The Chief Minister can resign, and the appointment of Advisers is capped at five.
- Cabinet Structure: The collective responsibility of the Cabinet to the Provincial Assembly is highlighted, with limits on its total strength.
- Dissolution of the Provincial Assembly: The article addresses the continuity of the Chief Minister and Ministers during the dissolution of the Provincial Assembly.
Crux of Article 130 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 130 establishes a robust framework for the governance structure in Pakistan, ensuring a balance of power between the Executive and the Legislative branches. The meticulous election process of the Chief Minister reflects the democratic ideals embedded in the constitutional fabric, emphasizing the importance of majority support from the Provincial Assembly.
The provision’s emphasis on collective responsibility underscores the significance of transparency and accountability in the Cabinet’s actions. The prescribed limits on Cabinet strength prevent unwarranted expansion, maintaining efficiency and coherence in decision-making.
Conclusion: Article 130 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 130 of the Constitution of Pakistan is a linchpin in the country’s constitutional framework. It not only defines the structure and function of the Cabinet but also intricately weaves the fabric of democratic governance within the Provincial Assembly. The article’s provisions embody the principles of accountability, transparency, and effective governance, serving as a testament to the careful deliberation that went into crafting the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan.
As we explore the intricate details of Article 130, it becomes apparent that this constitutional provision plays a central role in shaping Pakistan’s political landscape. With regard to election of Chief Ministers and Cabinet composition/responsibilities/dissolution dynamics it furthers a strong and stable democratic system.