Table of Contents
Overview of Article 213 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, passed into law in 1973, serves as the ultimate law of the land regulating political, social and legal matters across Pakistan. Within its fabric lies Article 213, an essential piece that defines appointment qualifications and powers for Pakistan’s Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). We take an in-depth look at this crucial section that contributes to shaping Pakistan’s electoral landscape.
Article 213 States
213. Chief Election Commissioner
- There shall be a Chief Election Commissioner (in this Part referred to as the Commissioner), who shall be appointed by the President.
- No person shall be appointed Commissioner unless he has been a judge of the Supreme Court or has been a senior civil servant or is a technocrat and is not more than sixty-eight years of age.
Explanation 1:– “senior civil servant” means a civil servant who has served for at least twenty years under Federal or a Provincial Government and has retired in BPS-22 or above.
Explanation 2:– “technocrat” means a person who is the holder of a degree requiring conclusion of at least sixteen years of education, recognized by the Higher Education Commission and has at least twenty years of experience, including a record of achievements at the national or international level.
- The Prime Minister shall in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, forward three names for appointment of the Commissioner to a Parliamentary Committee for hearing and confirmation of any one person:
Provided that in case there is no consensus between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, each shall forward separate lists to the Parliamentary Committee for consideration which may confirm any one name:
- The Parliamentary Committee to be constituted by the Speaker shall comprise fifty percent members from the Treasury Branches and fifty percent from the Opposition Parties, based on their strength in Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), to be nominated by the respective Parliamentary Leaders:
Provided that the total strength of the Parliamentary Committee shall be twelve members out of which one-third shall be from the Senate.
Provided further that when the National Assembly is dissolved and a vacancy occurs in the office of the Chief Election Commissioner, the total membership of the Parliamentary Committee shall consist of the members from the Senate only and the foregoing provisions of this clause shall, mutatis mutandis, apply.
- The Commissioner or a member shall have such powers and functions as are conferred on him by the Constitution and law.
Key Points of Article 213 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Appointment by the President: The President holds the authority to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner, underscoring the significance of this role in the constitutional order.
- Qualifications for Commissioner: Article 213 meticulously outlines the qualifications for the Commissioner, requiring a background as a Supreme Court judge, senior civil servant, or a technocrat. The age limit of sixty-eight adds an additional layer of specificity to the selection criteria.
- Definitions: The provision offers clear definitions for terms like “senior civil servant” and “technocrat,” ensuring a precise understanding of the qualifications deemed suitable for the Commissioner’s position.
- Appointment Process: A noteworthy aspect of Article 213 is the detailed process for the Commissioner’s appointment. The Prime Minister, in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, forwards three names to a Parliamentary Committee for confirmation. This dual-check system ensures a balanced and transparent selection process.
- Parliamentary Committee Composition: The Parliamentary Committee, responsible for confirming the Commissioner, comprises equal representation from Treasury Branches and Opposition Parties, fostering a collaborative and bipartisan approach to the appointment.
- Role and Powers: The powers and functions bestowed upon the Commissioner or a member are aligned with constitutional and legal mandates, emphasizing the importance of this role in upholding the democratic principles of the nation.
Crux of Article 213 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 213 underscores the significance of having a Chief Election Commissioner who possesses the requisite qualifications and experience to navigate the intricate realms of electoral processes. By establishing clear criteria and a consultative appointment process involving key stakeholders, the article aims to fortify the electoral machinery’s integrity and impartiality.
The crux lies in the delicate balance struck between legal acumen, administrative experience, and technological proficiency. The constitutional framers envisioned an individual at the helm of electoral affairs who could steer the ship with sagacity, ensuring that the democratic fabric of Pakistan remains robust and resilient.
Conclusion: Article 213 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 213 serves as a beacon guiding the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner, a role pivotal to the democratic fabric of Pakistan. By weaving together a tapestry of qualifications, procedural intricacies, and checks and balances, this constitutional provision fortifies the electoral system against undue influence and guarantees a fair and transparent electoral process.
As we explore the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan in greater detail, Article 213 emerges not simply as legal provision but as an expression of its nation’s commitment to upholding democratic ideals and upholding electoral sanctity. It stands as evidence of Pakistan’s dedication to democratic principles and lawfulness.