Table of Contents
Overview of Article 270AA of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, enacted in 1973, serves as the supreme law of the land, defining the framework for governance and the rights of its citizens. Within this constitutional tapestry, Article 270AA stands out as a pivotal provision, encapsulating a period marked by proclamations, orders, and legal shifts.
Article 270AA States
270AA. Declaration and continuance of laws, etc
- The Proclamation of Emergency of the fourteenth day of October, 1999, the Provisional Constitution Order No. 1 of 1999, the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2000 (No. 1 of 2000), Chief Executivce’s Order No. 12 of 2002, Chief Executive’s Order No. 19 of 2002, the amendments made in the Constitution through the Legal Framework Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 24 of 2002), the Legal Framework (Amendment) Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 29 of 2002) and Legal Framework (Second Amendment) Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 32 of 2002), notwithstanding any judgment of any court including the Supreme Court or a High Court, are hereby declared as having been made without lawful authority and of no legal effect.
- Except as provided in clause (1) and subject to the provisions of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010, all laws including President’s Orders, Acts, Ordinances, Chief Executive Orders, regulations, enactments, notifications, rules, orders or bye-laws made between the twelfth day of October, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine and the thirty-first day of October, two thousand and three (both days inclusive) and still in force shall, continue to be in force until altered, repealed or amended by the competent authority.
Explanation:– For the purposes of clause (2) and clause (6), “competent authority” means,-
in respect of Presidents’ Orders, Ordinances, Chief Executive’s Orders and all other laws, the appropriate Legislature; and
in respect of notifications, rules, orders and bye-laws, the authority in which the power to make, alter or amend the same vests under the law.
- Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution or clause (1), or judgment of any court including the Supreme Court or a High Court,-
- Judges of the Supreme Court, High Courts and Federal Shariat Court who were holding the office of a Judge or were appointed as such, and had taken oath under the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2000 (I of 2000), shall be deemed to have continued to hold the office as a Judge or appointed as such, as the case may be, under the Constitution, and such continuance or appointment, shall have effect accordingly.
- Judges of the Supreme Court, High Courts and Federal Shariat Court who not having been given or taken oath under the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2000, (I of 2000), and ceased to hold the office of a Judge shall, for the purposes of pensionary benefits only, be deemed to have continued to hold office under the Constitution till their date of superannuation.
- All orders make, proceedings taken, appointments made, including secondments and deputations, 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, in exercise of the powers derived from any authority or laws mentioned in clause (2), or in execution of or in compliance with any orders made or sentences passed by any authority in the exercise or purported exercise of powers as aforesaid, shall, notwithstanding anything contained in clause (1), be deemed to be valid and shall not be called in question in any court or forum on any ground whatsoever.
- No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings, including writ petitions, shall lie in any court or forum 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 clause (4) or in execution of or in compliance with orders made or sentences passed in exercise or purported exercise of such powers.
- Notwithstanding omission of the Concurrent Legislative List by the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010, all laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the said List (including Ordinances, Orders, rules, bye-laws, regulations and notifications and other legal instruments having the force of law) in force in Pakistan or any part thereof, or having extra-territorial operation, immediately before the commencement of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010, shall continue to remain in force until altered, repealed or amended be the competent authority.
- Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, all taxes and fees levied under any law in force immediately before the commencement of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010, shall continue to be levied until they are varied or abolished by an Act of the appropriate legislature.
- On the omission of the Concurrent Legislative List, the process of devolution of the matters mentioned in the said List to the Provinces shall be completed by the thirtieth day of June, two thousand and eleven.
- For purposes of the devolution process under clause (8), the Federal Government shall constitute an Implementation Commission as it may deem fit within fifteen days of the commencement of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010.
Key Points of Article 270AA of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Declaration of Invalidity: Article 270AA boldly declares the aforementioned proclamations and orders as having been made without lawful authority and devoid of legal effect. This sweeping assertion sets the stage for a reevaluation of the legal landscape during the specified period.
- Continuance of Laws: Despite the cancellation of particular directives, Article 270AA guarantees the perpetuation of legislations passed between October 12, 1999, and October 31, 2003. These legislations, encompassing President’s Orders, Acts, Ordinances, and Chief Executive Orders, shall remain effective until modified, revoked, or modified by the authorized body.
- Definition of Competent Authority: The concept of a “competent authority” is crucial in the context of Article 270AA. It delineates that, for different types of laws, the appropriate Legislature or specified authority is tasked with making alterations, repeals, or amendments.
- Status of Judges: The article addresses the status of judges who took oath under specific orders. It deems them to have continued their roles under the constitution. Additionally, provisions for pensionary benefits are outlined for judges not covered by the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2000.
- Validation of Actions: In a move to provide legal certainty, Article 270AA validates all orders, proceedings, appointments, and acts undertaken under the mentioned laws. Such actions, even if initially deemed invalid, are now considered legally sound and immune to challenge.
- Legal Immunity: Notably, the article shields authorities and individuals from legal proceedings related to actions taken in the exercise of powers specified in the article. This legal immunity extends to orders made, proceedings taken, or acts done during the mentioned period.
- Continuance of Laws in Concurrent Legislative List: Despite the removal of the Concurrent Legislative List by the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010, Article 270AA ensures the persistence of laws related to enumerated matters until altered, repealed, or amended by the competent authority.
- Continuation of Taxes and Fees: Taxes and fees levied under laws in force before the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010, are to persist until varied or abolished by an act of the appropriate legislature.
- Devolution Process: The article sets a timeline for the completion of the devolution process, requiring the Federal Government to establish an Implementation Commission within fifteen days of the commencement of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010.
Crux of Article 270AA of the Constitution of Pakistan
In essence, Article 270AA encapsulates a transformative period in Pakistan’s legal history. It confronts the legality of proclamations and orders, establishes the continued efficacy of laws enacted during a specific timeframe, and lays down the groundwork for the devolution of powers. This legal provision acts as a bridge between historical legal developments and the constitutional framework, offering clarity on the status of various actions and authorities.
Conclusion: Article 270AA of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 270AA stands as a testament to the evolving legal landscape of Pakistan. Its declaration of invalidity and simultaneous preservation of certain legal elements reflect the intricate balance required during transitional periods. As the legal journey unfolds, the significance of Article 270AA in shaping the constitutional narrative remains undeniable, adding a nuanced layer to the rich tapestry of Pakistan’s legal history.
In navigating the complexities of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, Article 270AA emerges as a legal compass, guiding the nation through the ebbs and flows of constitutional evolution. It serves not only as a reflection of historical events but also as a foundation for a more robust and resilient legal framework.