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Overview of Article 140 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan was first written in 1973 as an important foundational document that laid out fundamental principles and structures of governance. One key section is Article 140 which highlights the significance of legal counsel at provincial echelons of power. In this blog post we shall delve deeper into its nuances; specifically its centrality in appointing Advocate-Generals for Provinces as well as outlining their duties and parameters of engagement.
Article 140 States
140. Advocate-General for a Province
- The Governor of each Province shall appoint a person, being a person qualified to be appointed a Judge of the High Court, to be the Advocate-General for the Province.
- It shall be the duty of the Advocate-General to give advice to the Provincial Government upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may be referred or assigned to him by the Provincial government.
- The Advocate-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor and shall not engage in private practice so long as he holds the office of the Advocate-General.
- The Advocate-General may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Governor, resign his office.
Key Points of Article 140 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Appointment Process: The responsibility of appointing the Advocate-General lies squarely with the Governor of each Province. The appointee must possess the qualifications deemed fit for a High Court Judge, ensuring a high standard of legal expertise in the role.
- Duties of the Advocate-General: The Advocate-General is not a mere titular figure; their responsibilities are extensive. They are obligated to provide legal advice to the Provincial Government on pertinent legal matters. Moreover, they are entrusted with the performance of additional legal duties as referred or assigned by the Provincial Government. This dual role underscores the Advocate-General’s central position in offering legal guidance to the Province.
- Tenure and Professional Limitations: The Advocate-General serves at the pleasure of the Governor, highlighting the discretionary nature of their appointment. Importantly, during their term in office, the Advocate-General is barred from engaging in private legal practice. This restriction is in place to ensure undivided commitment to the role and prevent potential conflicts of interest.
- Resignation Option: Recognizing the dynamic nature of professional engagements, Article 140 allows the Advocate-General to resign from their office. This option, communicated through a written resignation addressed to the Governor, provides flexibility for individuals holding this esteemed position.
Crux of Article 140 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At the heart of Article 140 lies a commitment to fostering legal acumen and guidance within the Provincial Government structure. The appointment process ensures that the Advocate-General is not only legally qualified but also possesses the experience and knowledge befitting a High Court Judge. This sets the stage for a robust legal advisory role within the provincial administration.
The delineation of duties reflects an understanding of the diverse legal challenges that a Provincial Government may encounter. By entrusting the Advocate-General with the provision of legal advice and additional legal duties, the article acknowledges the multi-faceted nature of legal issues that may arise in the course of governance.
The imposition of professional limitations, such as the prohibition from private practice, underscores the need for undivided attention to the responsibilities of the Advocate-General. This commitment to exclusivity aims to ensure that the legal counsel provided to the Provincial Government remains impartial, focused, and free from external influences.
The provision allowing resignation recognizes the fluid nature of professional careers and grants the Advocate-General the autonomy to step down if circumstances necessitate. This flexibility aligns with the principles of individual agency and ensures that those in the role can make decisions in the best interest of their professional journey.
Conclusion: Article 140 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 140 of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan emerges as a beacon guiding the legal landscape within Provincial Governments. Its careful provisions, from the appointment process to delineating duties and imposing professional limitations, collectively contribute to the establishment of a robust legal advisory mechanism.
As we navigate the rich tapestry of the Constitution of Pakistan, Article 140 stands as a testament to the recognition of the pivotal role that legal expertise plays in effective governance. By appointing an Advocate-General with the qualifications of a High Court Judge and entrusting them with significant legal responsibilities, the article reinforces the commitment to a governance model that is informed, accountable, and legally sound. In the ongoing narrative of Pakistan’s constitutional journey, Article 140 is a chapter that underscores the importance of legal guidance in the pursuit of just and effective governance.