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Overview of Article 239 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, adopted in 1973, stands as a bedrock document, shaping the nation’s governance and legal framework. At the heart of this constitutional edifice lies Article 239, a pivotal provision that governs the amendment process. Understanding the intricacies of Article 239 is crucial for comprehending the dynamics of constitutional evolution in Pakistan.
Article 239 States
239. Constitution Amendment Bill
- A Bill to amend the Constitution may originate in either House and, when the Bill has been passed by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House, it shall be transmitted to the other House.
- If the Bill is passed without amendment by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House to which it is transmitted under clause (1), it shall, subject to the provisions of clause (4), be presented to the President for assent.
- If the Bill is passed with amendment by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House to which it is transmitted under clause (1), it shall be reconsidered by the House in which it had originated, and if the Bill as amended by the former House is passed by the latter by the votes of not less than two-thirds of its total membership it shall, subject to the provisions of clause (4), be presented to the President for assent.
- A Bill to amend the Constitution which would have the effect of altering the limits of a Province shall not be presented to the President for assent unless it has been passed by the Provincial Assembly of that Province by the votes of not less than two-thirds of its total membership.
- No amendment of the Constitution shall be called in question in any court on any ground whatsoever.
- For the removal of doubt, it is hereby declared that there is no limitation whatever on the power of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) to amend any of the provisions of the Constitution.
Key Points of Article 239 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Origination and Approval: Article 239 allows for the initiation of a constitutional amendment in either house, emphasizing the need for a robust two-thirds majority for passage.
- Transmission and Reconsideration: The bill undergoes a meticulous process of transmission between houses, with the second house having the authority to amend. If amendments are made, the bill returns to the house of origin for reconsideration.
- Assent to Unamend Bill: A significant provision involves the bill’s presentation to the President for assent if it passes the second house without any amendments by a two-thirds majority.
- Province Limits: Article 239 recognizes the regional diversity within Pakistan, requiring a two-thirds majority in a provincial assembly to amend provisions that would alter the limits of a province.
- Judicial Non-interference: The article shields constitutional amendments from judicial scrutiny, stating explicitly that no court can question any amendment on any grounds.
- Unlimited Power to Amend: In a definitive statement, Article 239 declares the unbounded power of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) to amend any provision of the Constitution, dispelling any doubts about the extent of legislative authority.
Crux of Article 239 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The essence of Article 239 lies in its meticulous design to balance the necessity of constitutional evolution with the imperative of maintaining stability. By requiring a two-thirds majority at various stages, the article ensures that amendments reflect a broad consensus, preventing hasty changes that might compromise the foundational principles of the Constitution. The provision regarding provincial limits acknowledges the federal structure of Pakistan, respecting the autonomy of provinces in certain matters.
Moreover, the explicit bar on judicial interference underlines the principle of separation of powers. This not only safeguards the integrity of the constitutional amendment process but also upholds the supremacy of the legislative branch in matters of constitutional change.
Parliament’s authority to amend any provision symbolizes its dedication to adaptability and responsiveness in meeting the evolving needs of society. But this power is limited; rather it must meet two-thirds majority requirements to ensure constitutional amendments reflect an inclusive consensus among elected representatives.
Conclusion: Article 239 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 239 of the Constitution of Pakistan serves as a cornerstone in the constitutional architecture of the country. Its provisions intricately define the process of amending the Constitution, striking a delicate balance between flexibility and stability. As Pakistan continues to evolve, the safeguards embedded in Article 239 will play a crucial role in preserving the essence and spirit of its foundational legal document.
The Constitution of Pakistan 1973, with Article 239 at its core, stands as an embodiment of democratic governance, rule of law and respect for regional diversity. By delving deeper into Article 239, one gains an in-depth knowledge of how constitutional amendments occur within Pakistan; further providing insights into progress and stability aspirations journeys.