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Overview of Article 203D of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, adopted in 1973, serves as the supreme law of the land, providing the framework for governance and safeguarding the rights of its citizens. Among its many provisions, Article 203D holds particular significance, delineating the powers, jurisdiction, and functions of the court concerning the compatibility of laws with Islamic principles.
Article 203D States
203D. Powers, Jurisdiction and Functions of the Court
- The Court may, either of its own motion or on the petition of a citizen of Pakistan or the Federal Government or a Provincial Government, examine and decide the question whether or not any law or provision of law is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam, as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, hereinafter referred to as the Injunctions of Islam.
- Where the Court takes up the examination of any law or provision of law under clause (1) and such law or provision of law appears to it to be repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam, the Court shall cause to be given to the Federal Government in the case of a law with respect to a matter in the Federal Legislative List, or to the Provincial Government in the case of a law with respect to a matter not enumerated in the Federal Legislative List, a notice specifying the particular provisions that appear to it to be so repugnant, and afford to such Government adequate opportunity to have its point of view placed before the Court.
- If the Court decides that any law or provision of law is repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam, it shall set out in its decision:
- the reasons for its holding that opinion; and
- the extent to which such law or provision is so repugnant; and specify the day on which the decision shall take effect:
Provided that no such decision shall be deemed to take effect before the expiration of the period within which an appeal therefrom may be preferred to the Supreme Court or, where an appeal has been so preferred, before the disposal of such appeal.
- If any law or provision of law is held by the Court to be repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam,
- the President in the case of a law with respect to a matter in the Federal Legislative List or the Concurrent Legislative List, or the Governor in the case of a law with respect to a matter not enumerated in either of those Lists, shall take steps to amend the law so as to bring such law or provision into conformity with the Injunctions of Islam; and
- such law or provision shall, to the extent to which it is held to be so repugnant, cease to have effect on the day on which the decision of the Court takes effect.
Key Points of Article 203D of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Authority to Examine Laws: The court has been given the responsibility of reviewing laws for their compliance with Islamic principles, which demonstrates their dedication to making sure legal framework matches religious values found in the Holy Quran and Sunnah.
- Notice to Government: When the court identifies an allegedly offensive law or provision, they are obliged to notify its respective government and give it an opportunity to present their viewpoint, creating a more balanced and consultative approach to legal adjudication.
- Decision and Reasons: Once the court determines that a law is unjustifiable, they must explain why their decision has been reached by providing detailed explanations that clearly define its impact. They then set an effective date with provision that it is open for appeals.
- Amendment of Repugnant Laws: Article 203D places an onus on the government to amend any law found to be repugnant, bringing it in line with the Injunctions of Islam. This proactive measure underscores the dynamic nature of the legal system, allowing for continuous alignment with evolving societal values.
- Ceasing Effect of Repugnant Laws: To enforce the court’s decision, any law or provision deemed repugnant ceases to have effect on the specified date. This provision emphasizes the real-world impact of legal decisions, ensuring swift and tangible consequences for non-compliance with Islamic principles.
Crux of Article 203D of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 203D embodies the constitutional commitment to harmonizing the legal and religious realms in Pakistan. By providing a mechanism for the scrutiny of laws through the lens of Islamic principles, the article reflects the nation’s dedication to preserving its Islamic identity within the legal framework.
The article’s procedural intricacies, from examination and notification to decision and amendment, showcase a thoughtful and meticulous approach to maintaining the delicate balance between legal governance and religious adherence. The incorporation of the appeal process ensures a fair and comprehensive review of decisions, upholding the principles of justice.
Conclusion: Article 203D of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 203D stands as a testament to Pakistan’s constitutional commitment to Islam as a guiding force in its legal system. Its provisions not only empower the judiciary to assess the conformity of laws with Islamic principles but also establish a collaborative dialogue with the government, fostering a holistic approach to legal governance.
As the constitutional landscape continues to evolve, Article 203D remains a cornerstone in the quest for a legal system that reflects the values and beliefs of the Pakistani people. It exemplifies the delicate balance between legal norms and religious convictions, shaping a legal framework that is not only just but also deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of Islamic heritage.
Explore the depths of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, where Article 203D stands as a beacon, guiding the nation towards a harmonious coexistence of law and faith. Through its provisions, the article echoes the enduring commitment to creating a legal framework that is not only robust but also in tune with the moral compass embedded in the Injunctions of Islam.