Table of Contents
Overview of Article 155 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, adopted in 1973, is a cornerstone of the nation’s legal framework. Among its provisions, Article 155 stands as a crucial directive, presenting a structured approach to address concerns related to water supplies that may impact the interests of Provinces, the Federal Capital, or their inhabitants.
Article 155 States
155. Complaints as to interference with water supplies
- If the interests of a Province, the Federal Capital, or any of the inhabitants thereof, in water from any natural source of supply or reservoir have been or are likely to be affected prejudicially by-
- any executive act or legislation taken or passed or proposed to be taken or passed, or
- the failure of any authority to exercise any of its powers with respect to the use and distribution or control of water from that source,
the Federal Government or the Provincial Government concerned may make a complaint in writing to the Council.
- Upon receiving such complaint, the Council shall, after having considered the matter, either give its decision or request the President to appoint a commission consisting of such persons having special knowledge and experience in irrigation, engineering, administration, finance or law as he may think fit, hereinafter referred to as the Commission.
- Until Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) makes provision by law in this behalf, the provisions of the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1956, as in force immediately before the commencing day shall apply to the Council or the Commission as if the Council or the Commission were a commission appointed under that Act to which all the provisions of section 5 thereof applied and upon which the power contemplated by section 10A thereof had been conferred.
- After considering the report and supplementary report, if any, of the Commission, the Council shall record its decision on all matters referred to the Commission.
- Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, but subject to the provisions of clause (5) of Article 154, it shall be the duty of the Federal Government and the Provincial Government concerned in the matter in issue to give effect to the decision of the Council faithfully according to its terms and tenor.
- No proceeding shall lie before any court at the instance of any party to a matter which is or has been in issue before the Council. or of any person whatsoever, in respect of a matter which is actually or has been or might or ought to have been a proper subject of complaint to the Council under this Article.
Key Points of Article 155 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Complaint Mechanism (Clause 1): The article introduces a formal complaint mechanism, empowering the Federal or Provincial Government to voice concerns about water supply issues to the Council in writing. This provision emphasizes the significance of water resources and their impact on the regions and people.
- Council Decision or Commission Appointment (Clause 2): The Council plays a pivotal role in addressing water-related grievances. It can either independently decide on the matter after careful consideration or request the President to appoint a commission. This showcases the dual nature of the mechanism, offering both direct resolution and expert-driven investigations.
- Application of Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1956 (Clause 3): Until specific laws are enacted, Article 155 integrates the provisions of the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1956. This legal integration ensures a standardized and lawful approach to resolving water-related disputes, aligning with established legal frameworks.
- Council Decision after Commission Report (Clause 4): Following the submission of a report by the appointed commission, the Council reviews the findings and records its decision on all matters referred to the Commission. This iterative process ensures a thorough examination of the issues at hand.
- Implementation of Council Decision (Clause 5): The article imposes a duty on the Federal and Provincial Governments concerned to faithfully implement the Council’s decision regarding water supply issues. This underscores the binding nature of the Council’s determinations and aims to ensure effective implementation of water-related policies.
- Legal Bar on Court Proceedings (Clause 6): A significant aspect of Article 155 is the legal prohibition on court proceedings related to matters addressed by the Council. This legal safeguard reinforces the exclusive jurisdiction of the Council in handling water supply issues, fostering a streamlined and specialized approach.
Crux of Article 155 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 155 reflects the constitutional commitment to managing water resources in a fair, comprehensive, and effective manner. By providing a structured mechanism for complaint, investigation, and decision-making, the article establishes a blueprint for addressing water-related concerns, emphasizing the importance of a centralized approach for issues that may have cross-jurisdictional impacts.
Conclusion: Article 155 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 155 emerges as a vital instrument within the constitutional framework of Pakistan. It not only addresses the intricate issue of interference with water supplies but also exemplifies the nation’s commitment to resolving disputes through a well-defined and legally sound process.
The integration of the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1956, and the legal bar on court proceedings highlight the meticulous design of Article 155, ensuring that the resolution of water-related matters aligns with established legal principles. As Pakistan navigates the complexities of water governance, Article 155 stands as a beacon, guiding the nation towards equitable and effective management of this invaluable resource.