Table of Contents
Overview of Article 175 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The 1973 Constitution of Pakistan is a cornerstone of the nation’s legal framework, and Article 175 emerges as a linchpin within this constitutional edifice. This provision delineates the establishment and jurisdiction of courts, echoing the foundational principles that govern Pakistan’s judicial system.
Article 175 States
175. Establishment and Jurisdiction of Courts
- There shall be a Supreme Court of Pakistan, a High Court for each Province and a High Court for the Islamabad Capital Territory and such other courts as may be established by law.
- Explanation.- Unless the context otherwise requires, the words “High Court” wherever occurring in the Constitution shall include “Islamabad High Court.
- No court shall have any jurisdiction save as is or may be conferred on it by the Constitution or by or under any law.
- The Judiciary shall be separated progressively from the Executive within fourteen years from the commencing day.
- Provided that the provisions of this Article shall have no application to the trial of persons under any of the Acts mentioned at Serial No.6 and 7 of sub-part III of Part I of the First Schedule, who claim, or are known to belong to any terrorist group or organization misusing the name of religion or a sect.
- Explanation.- In this proviso, the expression “sect” means a sect of religion and does not include any reigious or political party regulated under the Political Parties Order, 2002.
Key Points of Article 175 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Hierarchy of Courts: The constitutional mandate ensures a tiered judicial system, with the Supreme Court at the apex, High Courts for Provinces, and a dedicated High Court for the Islamabad Capital Territory. This structure reflects the commitment to a hierarchical yet inclusive approach to justice.
- Jurisdictional Limitations: Article 175 explicitly restricts the jurisdiction of courts. They are only empowered to act within the bounds defined by the Constitution or through legal enactments. This limitation underscores the principle that the judiciary’s authority is derived from constitutional and legislative sources.
- Separation of Judiciary from Executive: A progressive separation of the judiciary from the executive is envisaged within fourteen years from the commencing day. This provision reflects a commitment to institutional autonomy and is a key step towards ensuring the judiciary’s independence.
- Exception for Terrorism-Related Cases: Acknowledging the unique challenges posed by terrorism, the article provides an exception for certain cases under specific acts. This exception allows for a tailored approach in handling legal proceedings related to terrorism, recognizing the need for specialized procedures in these instances.
Crux of Article 175 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its heart, Article 175 captures the essence of Pakistan’s legal system. As an intentional and thoughtful constitutional provision, it not only sets forth a structure for the judiciary but also establishes its parameters of operation – while simultaneously fulfilling both needs for centralized legal authority while safeguarding independence of judiciary institutions.
As stipulated by Article 11, ensuring a fair and impartial legal system requires the separation of judiciary from executive. By setting a timeline for its implementation, the Constitution shows its commitment to gradual development of the judiciary into an autonomous branch of government.
The exception for terrorism-related cases demonstrates the flexibility inherent in the legal framework. It recognizes that certain situations may necessitate unique approaches, and the law must be adaptive to effectively address evolving challenges, particularly those related to national security.
Conclusion: Article 175 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 175 stands as a testament to the meticulous crafting of Pakistan’s legal foundation. It outlines the blueprint for a judiciary that is not only hierarchically structured but is also equipped to adapt to the dynamic legal landscape. The commitment to separation from the executive, the delineation of jurisdictional boundaries, and the nuanced approach to terrorism-related cases collectively embody the principles of justice, fairness, and adaptability within the legal system.
As Pakistan navigates the challenges of 21st-century life, Article 175 continues to serve as an guiding light, providing direction towards an independent judiciary capable of dispensing justice even under difficult and changing conditions. It exemplifies resilience and foresight of Pakistan’s founding fathers in 1973 who ensured its legal foundations would withstand changing legal, social, and political landscapes.