Table of Contents
Overview of Article 207 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, a cornerstone of the nation’s legal framework since 1973, encompasses a myriad of provisions that shape the country’s governance. Among these, Article 207 stands out as a pivotal section, delicately balancing the roles and post-tenure engagements of judges. This article unfolds a tapestry of regulations, restricting judges from certain activities, and establishing a temporal hiatus between judicial service and post-tenure appointments.
Article 207 States
207. Judge not to hold Office of Profit, etc
- A Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court shall not,
- hold any other office of profit in the service of Pakistan if his remuneration is thereby increased; or
- occupy any other position carrying the right to remuneration for the rendering of services.
- A person who has held office as a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court shall not hold any office of profit in the service of Pakistan, not being a judicial or quasi-judicial office or the office of Chief Election Commissioner or of Chairman or member of a law commission or of Chairman or member of the Council of Islamic Ideology, before the expiration of two years after he has ceased to hold that office.
- A person who has held office as a permanent Judge,
- of the Supreme Court, shall not plead or act in any Court or before any authority in Pakistan;
- of a High Court, shall not plead or act in any Court or before any authority within its jurisdiction; and
- of the High Court of West Pakistan as it existed immediately before the coming into force of the Province of West Pakistan (Dissolution) Order, 1970, shall not plead or act in any Court or before any authority within the jurisdiction of the principal seat of that High Court or, as the case may be, the Permanent Bench of that High Court to which he was assigned.
Key Points of Article 207 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Holding Office of Profit: Article 207(1) stipulates that a Judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court is prohibited from holding any other office of profit in the service of Pakistan if such an appointment leads to an increase in remuneration. Additionally, occupying positions that entitle remuneration for services rendered is also forbidden.
- Post-Tenure Office of Profit: Subsection (2) extends this prohibition beyond the judicial term, asserting that a person who has served as a Judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court cannot assume any office of profit in the service of Pakistan—excluding specific positions like Chief Election Commissioner or member of a law commission—within two years of ceasing their judicial duties.
- Post-Tenure Legal Practice Restrictions: Subsection (3) imposes limitations on post-tenure legal practice. A former permanent Judge of the Supreme Court is barred from pleading or acting in any court or authority in Pakistan. Similarly, a former permanent Judge of a High Court faces jurisdictional restrictions on legal activities within the court’s purview.
Crux of Article 207 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 207 seeks to maintain the integrity of the judiciary by safeguarding against potential conflicts of interest and ensuring a clear separation between judicial service and other engagements. By prohibiting judges from assuming offices of profit immediately after their tenure, the article mitigates the risk of undue influence and upholds the impartiality of the judicial system.
This legal provision also recognizes the delicate balance required in the post-tenure phase. While acknowledging the potential contributions of former judges in certain capacities such as Chief Election Commissioner or law commission members, it enforces a cooling-off period, fostering a transition that avoids conflicts of interest.
Conclusion: Article 207 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 207 of the Constitution of Pakistan serves as a sentinel guarding the sanctity of the judiciary. By setting clear guidelines on post-tenure engagements, it not only prevents judges from participating in activities that may compromise their impartiality but also strikes a nuanced balance, permitting their involvement in roles that contribute to the nation’s governance without compromising the principles of justice.
The framers of the 1973 constitution of Pakistan carefully embedded Article 207 to reflect a commitment to judicial independence and public trust. This provision ensures that the esteemed judges, after rendering their service to the nation, continue to embody the virtues of justice, upholding the spirit of the constitution.