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Overview of Article 233 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, established in 1973, serves as the supreme law of the land. It meticulously delineates the framework for governance, ensuring the protection of citizens’ rights and the establishment of a democratic state. Within this constitutional tapestry lies Article 233, a provision that empowers the state to navigate exceptional circumstances through the temporary suspension of Fundamental Rights.
Article 233 States
233. Power to suspend Fundamental Rights, etc., during emergency period
- Nothing contained in Articles 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 24 shall, while a proclamation of Emergency is in force, restrict the power of the State as defined in Article 7 to make any law or to take any executive action which it would, but for the provisions in the said Articles, be competent to make or to take, but any law so made shall to the extent of the incompetency, cease to have effect, and shall be deemed to have been repealed, at the time when the Proclamation is revoked or has ceased to be in force.
- While a Proclamation of Emergency is in force, the President may, by Order, declare that the right to move any Court for the enforcement of such of the Fundamental Rights conferred by Chapter 1 of Part II as may be specified in the Order, and any proceeding in any Court which is for the enforcement, or involves the determination of any question as to the infringement, of any of the Rights so specified, shall remain suspended for the period during which the Proclamation is in force, and any such Order may be made in respect of the whole or any part of Pakistan.
- Every Order made under this Article shall, as soon as may be, be laid before both Houses of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) separately for approval and the provisions of clauses (7) and (8) of Article 232 shall apply to such an Order as they apply to a Proclamation of Emergency.
Key Points of Article 233 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Selective Suspension of Fundamental Rights: Article 233 designates certain Fundamental Rights—enumerated in Articles 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 24—as subject to suspension during a state of emergency. This selective approach allows the State to address emergencies while balancing the need for citizen protection.
- State’s Expanded Legislative and Executive Powers: During the emergency period, Article 233 grants the State powers beyond the usual constraints imposed by the specified articles. This entails the authority to enact laws or take executive actions that would otherwise be restricted.
- Temporal Validity of Emergency Legislation: Laws enacted under the expanded powers granted by Article 233 have a temporal validity. Once the emergency is revoked, or ceases to be in force, any law made beyond the normal competency ceases to have effect and is deemed repealed.
- Presidential Order for the Suspension of Rights: The President, through an Order, can declare the suspension of the right to move any court for the enforcement of specific Fundamental Rights during the emergency. This provision limits the avenues available to individuals seeking legal redress for the infringement of certain rights during emergency periods.
- Parliamentary Approval Mechanism: Crucially, any Order issued under Article 233 must undergo parliamentary scrutiny. It is laid before both Houses of Parliament for approval, ensuring a democratic check on the executive’s exercise of emergency powers.
- Interconnection with Other Articles: The passage makes reference to other articles, such as Article 232, which deals with the Proclamation of Emergency. This interconnection emphasizes the broader constitutional context in which the power to suspend Fundamental Rights operates.
Crux of Article 233 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In essence, Article 233 serves as a constitutional tool that allows the State to adapt to extraordinary circumstances by temporarily modifying its adherence to certain Fundamental Rights. This pragmatic approach is embedded in the recognition that emergencies may necessitate a departure from the norm to safeguard the overall stability and security of the nation.
The provision strikes a delicate balance, empowering the State to respond effectively to crises while incorporating mechanisms to prevent abuse of power. The requirement for parliamentary approval ensures that the suspension of Fundamental Rights remains a carefully deliberated and transparent process.
Conclusion: Article 233 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 233 of the Constitution of Pakistan embodies the constitutional philosophy of adaptability and resilience in the face of unforeseen challenges. While its invocation signals a departure from the usual guarantees of Fundamental Rights, it underscores the State’s commitment to securing the greater good during times of emergency.
As we navigate the complexities of constitutional governance, it becomes imperative to appreciate the nuanced interplay between safeguarding individual liberties and responding to emergent threats. Article 233 stands as a testament to the constitutional maturity of Pakistan, providing a legal framework that acknowledges the necessity of flexibility in the pursuit of national stability and security.