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Overview of Article 212 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, enacted in 1973, serves as the bedrock of the nation’s legal framework. Within its pages, Article 212 stands out as a pivotal provision, carving a specialized niche for Administrative Courts and Tribunals. This article delineates the scope, jurisdiction, and unique features governing these entities, playing a crucial role in the country’s judicial architecture.
Article 212 States
212. Administrative Courts and Tribunals
- Notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, the appropriate Legislature may by Act provide for the establishment of one or more Administrative Courts or Tribunals to exercise exclusive jurisdiction in respect of
- matters relating to the terms and conditions of persons who are or have been in the service of Pakistan, including disciplinary matters;
- matters relating to claims arising from tortious acts of Government, or any person in the service of Pakistan, or of any local or other authority empowered by law to levy any tax or cess and any servant of such authority acting in the discharge of his duties as such servant; or
- matters relating to the acquisition, administration and disposal of any property which is deemed to be enemy property under any law.
- Notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, where any Administrative Court or Tribunal is established under clause (1), no other court shall grant an injunction, make any order or entertain any proceedings in respect of any matter to which the jurisdiction of such Administrative Court or Tribunal extends and all proceedings in respect of any such matter which may be pending before such other court immediately before the establishment of the Administrative Court or Tribunal other than an appeal pending before the Supreme Court, shall abate on such establishment:
Provided that the provisions of this clause shall not apply to an Administrative Court or Tribunal established under an Act of a Provincial Assembly unless, at the request of that Assembly made in the form of a resolution, Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) by law extends the provisions to such a Court or Tribunal.
- An appeal to the Supreme Court from a judgment, decree, order or sentence of an Administrative Court or Tribunal shall lie only if the Supreme Court, being satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law of public importance, grants leave to appeal.
Key Points of Article 212 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Legislative Empowerment: Article 212 empowers the appropriate Legislature to enact legislation for the establishment of Administrative Courts or Tribunals. This legislative authority ensures a formal legal basis for the creation and functioning of these specialized entities.
- Exclusive Jurisdiction: The article confers exclusive jurisdiction upon Administrative Courts or Tribunals for specific categories of cases, including those related to the terms and conditions of individuals in Pakistan’s service, claims arising from government tortious acts, and matters concerning property deemed as enemy property under existing laws.
- Restrictions on Other Courts: Once an Administrative Court or Tribunal is established, Article 212 imposes restrictions on other courts. No other court is authorized to grant injunctions, make orders, or entertain proceedings related to matters falling within the jurisdiction of these specialized entities. This provision ensures a streamlined and efficient resolution of disputes within the designated administrative framework.
- Abatement of Proceedings: All proceedings in other courts concerning matters within the jurisdiction of an Administrative Court or Tribunal abate upon the establishment of the latter, with the exception of appeals pending before the Supreme Court. This ensures a seamless transition of cases to the specialized forums created under Article 212.
- Provincial Variation: The article recognizes the diversity of legal systems within Pakistan. It allows the extension of its provisions to Administrative Courts or Tribunals established under provincial legislation only if requested by the Provincial Assembly and approved by the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).
Crux of Article 212 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 212 is a legislative provision designed to create a focused and efficient mechanism for resolving specific categories of disputes. By establishing Administrative Courts or Tribunals, the Constitution aims to address issues related to the terms and conditions of government service, claims arising from official tortious acts, and matters concerning enemy property with precision and expertise.
The crux of Article 212 lies in its commitment to ensuring a dedicated forum for administrative justice, streamlining legal processes, and preventing the overlap of jurisdictions. This legal provision recognizes the unique nature of disputes falling within its ambit and tailors a solution that addresses these intricacies comprehensively.
Conclusion: Article 212 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 212 of Pakistan’s Constitution stands as evidence of its framers’ foresight in creating a legal framework which adapts to meet the diverse and ever-evolving needs of their nation. By authorizing the establishment of Administrative Courts or Tribunals with exclusive jurisdiction, this provision strengthens judicial efficiency and effectiveness.
Navigating the legal landscape of Pakistan requires an understanding of the nuanced provisions within the Constitution, and Article 212 stands as a beacon guiding the resolution of specific disputes. Its role in delineating the scope, jurisdiction, and limitations on other courts ensures a well-defined and specialized approach to administrative justice, fostering confidence in the legal system of the country.