Table of Contents
Overview of Article 260 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 260 of the Constitution of Pakistan is a pivotal segment that lays the foundation for precise interpretation. Acting as a linguistic guide, it provides explicit definitions for various expressions used within the constitutional framework. This article serves as the key to unlocking the nuanced meanings behind legislative terms, financial concepts, government positions, and religious categorizations, among others.
Article 260 States
- In the Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires, the following expressions have the meaning hereby respectively assigned to them, that is to say,
- “Act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)” means an Act passed by Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or the National Assembly and assented to, or deemed to have been assented to, by the President;
- “Act of Provincial Assembly” means an Act passed by the Provincial Assembly of a Province and assented to, or deemed to have been assented to, by the Governor;
- “agricultural income” means agricultural income as defined for the purpose of the law relating to income tax;
- “Article” means Article of the Constitution;
- “borrows” includes the raising of money by the grant of annuities, and “loans” shall be construed accordingly;
- “Chairman” means the Chairman of the Senate and, except in Article 49, includes a person acting as Chairman of the Senate;
- “Chief Justices”, in relation to the Supreme Court or a High Court, includes the Judge for the time being acting as Chief Justice of the Court;
- “citizen” means a citizen of Pakistan as defined by law;
- “clause” means clause of the Article in which it occurs;
- “corporation tax” means any tax or income that is payable by companies and in respect of which the following conditions apply:
- the tax is not chargeable in respect of agricultural income;
- no deduction in respect of the tax paid by companies is, by any law which may apply to the tax, authorized to be made from dividends payable by the companies to individuals;
- no provision exists for taking the tax so paid into account in computing for the purposes of income tax the total income of individual receiving such dividends, or in computing the income tax payable by, or refundable to, such individuals;
- “debt” includes any liability in respect of any obligation to repay capital sums by way of annuities and any liability under any guarantee, and “debt charges” shall be construed accordingly;
- “estate duty” means a duty assessed on, or by reference to, the value of property passing upon death;
- “existing laws” has the same meaning as in clause (7) of Article 268;
- “Federal laws” means a law made by or under the authority of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament);
- “financial year” means a year commencing on the first day of July;
- “goods” includes all materials, commodities and articles;
- “Governor” means the Governor of a Province and includes any person for the time being acting as the Governor of a Province;
- “guarantee” includes any obligation undertaken before the commencing day to make payments in the event of the profits of an undertaking falling short of a specified amount;
- “House” means the Senate or the National Assembly;
- “Joint sitting” means a joint sitting of the two Houses;
- “Judge” in relation to the Supreme Court or a High Court, includes the Chief Justice of the Court and also includes
- in relation to the Supreme Court, a person who is acting as a Judge of the Court; and
- in relation to the High Court, a person who is an Additional Judge of the Court;
- “members of the Armed Forces” does not include persons who are not, for the time being, subject to any law relating of the members of the Armed Forces;
- “net proceeds” means, in relation to any tax or duty, the proceeds thereof, reduced by the cost of collection, as ascertained and certified by the Auditor-General;
- “oath” includes affirmation;
- “Part” means Part of the Constitution;
- “pension” means a pension, whether contributory or not, of any kind whatsoever payable to, or in respect of, any person and includes retired pay so payable, a gratuity so payable, and any sum or sums so payable by way of the return, with or without interest thereon or any addition thereto, of subscriptions to a provident fund;
- “person” includes any body politic or corporals;
- “President” means the President of Pakistan and includes a person for the time being acting as, or performing the functions of, the President of Pakistan and, as respects anything required to be done under the Constitution before the commencing day, the President under the Interim Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan;
- “Property” includes any right, title or interest in property, movable or immovable, and any means and instruments of production;
- “Provincial law” means a law made by or under the authority of the Provincial Assembly;
- “remuneration” includes salary and pension;
- “Schedule” means Schedule to the Constitution;
- “security of Pakistan” includes the safety, welfare, stability and integrity of Pakistan and of each part of Pakistan, but shall not include public safety as such;
- “Service of Pakistan” means any service, post or office in connection with the affairs of the Federation or of a Province, and includes an All-Pakistan Service, service in the Armed Forces and any other service declared to be a service of Pakistan by or under Act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or of a Provincial Assembly, but does not include service as Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Prime Minister, Federal Minister, Minister of State, Chief Minister, Provincial Minister, Attorney-General, Advocate-General, Parliamentary Secretary, Chairman or member of a Law Commission, Chairman or member of the Council of Islamic Ideology, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Adviser to the Prime Minister, Special Assistant to Chief Minister, Adviser to a Chief Minister or member of a House or a Provincial Assembly;
- “Speaker” means the Speaker of the National Assembly or a Provincial Assembly, and includes any person acting as the Speaker of the Assembly;
- “taxation” includes the imposition of any tax or duty, whether general, local or special, and “tax” shall be construed accordingly;
- “tax on income” includes a tax in the nature of an excess profits tax or a business profits tax
- In the Constitution “Act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)” or “Federal law” or “Act of Provincial Assembly” or “Provincial law” shall include an Ordinance promulgated by the President or, as the case may be, a Governor.
- In the Constitution and all enactments and other legal instruments, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context
- “Muslim” means a person who believes in the unity and oneness of Almighty Allah, in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last of the prophets, and does not believe in, or recognize as a prophet or religious reformer, any person who claimed or claims to be a prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Muhammad (peace be upon him); and
- “non-Muslim” means a person who is not a Muslim and includes a person belonging to the Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Parsi community, a person of the Qadiani Group or the Lahori Group who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name or a Bahai, and a person belonging to any of the Scheduled Castes.
Key Points of Article 260 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Legislative Precision: Article 260 provides meticulous definitions for legislative terms such as “Act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)” and “Act of Provincial Assembly,” establishing conditions for presidential assent.
- Taxation and Finance Insights: The article sheds light on economic concepts by defining terms like “corporation tax,” “debt,” and “net proceeds,” offering clarity in matters of taxation and financial governance.
- Governmental Nomenclature: Positions within the government such as “Chairman”, “Governor”, and “President”, are carefully defined to avoid ambiguity regarding functions and authorities.
- Religious Clarifications: Distinctions between “Muslim” and “non-Muslim” individuals are explicitly laid out, setting specific criteria to classify individuals within the Constitution’s confines.
- Service, Remuneration, and Pensions: Definitions related to government service, remuneration, and pensions ensure a clear understanding of matters pertaining to employment and compensation.
Crux of Article 260 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 260 is the linchpin of the Constitution, ensuring that the language used within its provisions is not a barrier but a guide. The crux lies in its meticulous craftsmanship, providing a roadmap for interpreting the constitution with precision and consistency. By demystifying legal terminology, it empowers readers, jurists, and citizens alike to navigate the constitutional landscape with clarity.
Article 260 is not a mere collection of words; it is a deliberate effort to create a common understanding of terms crucial to the functioning of a nation. Its definitions are not arbitrary but rooted in the principles, values, and context of the Constitution of Pakistan. The crux is the recognition that a well-defined legal language is the cornerstone of a just and effective legal system.
Conclusion: Article 260 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 260 stands as a testament to the commitment of the framers of the Constitution of Pakistan to linguistic precision and clarity. It transcends being a mere glossary; it is a dynamic tool that breathes life into the constitutional text. As we journey through the constitutional landscape, Article 260 ensures that legal language is not an obstacle but a facilitator of justice and governance.
Article 260 serves as an indispensable basis for creating a shared understanding of the language found within our Constitution, encouraging consistent legal interpretation, and upholding principles of justice and equality. As such, Article 260 acts as the protector of constitutional lexicon ensuring it remains accessible, transparent, and in line with evolving national needs.