Table of Contents
Overview of Article 270A of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, established in 1973, encapsulates the nation’s legal and political framework. Among its provisions, Article 270A stands out as a pivotal component, offering insights into a specific period of Pakistan’s history. This article serves as a legal anchor, addressing the affirmation of presidential orders and related laws during a crucial time frame.
Article 270A States
270A. Affirmation of President’s Orders, etc
- The Proclamation of the fifth day of July, 1977, all President’s Orders, Ordinances, Martial Law Regulations, Martial Law Orders, including the Referendum Order, 1984 (P. O. No. 11 of 1984), the Revival of the Constitution of 1973 Order, 1985 (P. O. No. 14 of 1985), the Constitution (Second Amendment) Order 1985 (P. O. No. 24 of 1985), and all other laws, made between the fifth day of July, 1977, and the date on which this Article comes into force are hereby affirmed, adopted and declared, notwithstanding any judgment of any court, to have been validly made by competent authority and, notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, shall not be called in question in any court on any ground whatsoever:
Provided that a President’s Order, Martial Law Regulation or Martial Law Order made after the thirtieth day of September, 1985, shall be confined only to making such provisions as facilitate, or are incidental to, the revocation of the Proclamation of the fifth day of July, 1977.
- All order made, proceedings taken and acts done by any authority or by any person, which were made, taken or done, or purported to have been made, taken or done, between the fifth day of July, 1977, and the date on which this Article comes into force, in exercise of the powers derived from any Proclamation, President’s Orders, Ordinances, Martial Law Regulations, Martial Law Orders, enactments, notifications, rules, orders or by- laws, or in execution of or in compliance with any order made or sentence passed by any authority in the exercise or purported exercise of powers as aforesaid, shall, notwithstanding any judgment of any court, be deemed to be and always to have been validly made, taken or done and shall not be called in question in any court on any ground whatsoever.
- All President’s Orders, Ordinances, Martial Law Regulations, Martial Law Orders, enactments, notifications, rules, orders or by-laws in force immediately before the date on which this Article comes into force shall continue in force until altered, repealed or amended by competent authority. Explanation. In this clause, Competent authority means-
- in respect of President’s Orders, Ordinances, Martial Law Regulations, Martial Law Orders and enactments, the Legislature; and
- in respect of notifications, rules orders and by-laws, the authority in which the power to made, alter, repeal or amend the same vests under the law.
- No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie in any court against any authority or any person, for or on account of or in respect of any order made, proceedings taken or act done whether in the exercise or purported exercise of the powers referred to in clause (2) or in execution of or in compliance with orders made or sentences passed in exercise or purported exercise of such powers.
- For the purposes of clauses (1), (2) and (4), all orders made, proceedings taken, acts done or purporting to be made, taken or done by any authority or person shall be deemed to have been made, taken or done in good faith and for the purpose intended to be served thereby.
- The laws referred to in clause (1) may be amended by the appropriate Legislature in the manner provided for amendment of such laws.
Key Points of Article 270A of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Temporal Scope: Article 270A is contextualized within the period between July 5, 1977, and the date of its enforcement.
- Affirmation and Adoption: The article explicitly affirms and adopts the Proclamation of July 5, 1977, along with all related President’s Orders, Ordinances, Martial Law Regulations, and enactments made during the specified timeframe. These are deemed to have been validly made by competent authority, and their validity is immune from legal challenge.
- Limitations on Future Orders: Recognizing the need for transition, Article 270A imposes restrictions on the powers to make President’s Orders, Martial Law Regulations, or Martial Law Orders after September 30, 1985. Such orders are confined to provisions facilitating the revocation of the Proclamation of July 5, 1977.
- Validation of Past Actions: All orders, proceedings, and acts undertaken by authorities or individuals between July 5, 1977, and the date of Article 270A’s enforcement, derived from the specified legal instruments, are deemed valid. This validation is absolute, with no room for legal challenge.
- Continuation of Laws: Existing President’s Orders, Ordinances, Martial Law Regulations, and other legal instruments in force before the enactment of Article 270A continue until altered, repealed, or amended by competent authority.
- Legal Immunity: A significant aspect of Article 270A is the immunity it provides. No suit, prosecution, or legal proceedings can be initiated against any authority or individual for actions taken during the specified period. All actions are considered to have been done in good faith.
- Amendment Authority: The laws affirmed in Article 270A can be amended by the appropriate legislature, providing a mechanism for adjusting legal frameworks in response to evolving circumstances.
Crux of Article 270A of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 270A addresses the need for legal stability and continuity during a critical period in Pakistan’s political history. By affirming the validity of certain instruments and providing legal immunity for actions taken during that period, the article strikes a balance between historical acknowledgment and the adaptability of legal frameworks.
The limitations imposed on future orders underscore the intent to transition away from the conditions that necessitated the initial Proclamation. This legal provision reflects the complex interplay between legal validation, historical context, and the forward-looking nature of constitutional governance.
Conclusion: Article 270A of the Constitution of Pakistan
To summarize, the inclusion of Article 270A in the Constitution of Pakistan serves as a testament to the country’s strength and adaptability in dealing with complex political situations. Its importance extends beyond validating previous actions, as it also establishes a legal structure for governing the nation in the future.
As we delve into the intricacies of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, Article 270A emerges as a key player in ensuring legal continuity while acknowledging historical complexities. It symbolizes the delicate dance between historical validation and the flexibility inherent in constitutional governance.