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Overview of Article 275 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, introduced in 1973, serves as the central legal document that guides its government. A key provision within its comprehensive framework is Article 275 which stipulates how individuals who serve Pakistan may remain in office during transitional periods.
Article 275 States
275. Continuance in office of persons in service of Pakistan, etc
- Subject to the Constitution and until law is made under Article 240 any person who, immediately before the commencing day, was in the service of Pakistan shall, as from that day, continue in the service of Pakistan on the same terms and conditions as were applicable to him under the Interim Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan immediately before that day.
- Clause (1) shall also apply in relation to a person holding office immediately before the commencing day as
- Chief Justice of Pakistan or other Judge of the Supreme Court, or Chief Justice or other Judge of a High Court;
- Governor of a Province;
- Chief Minister of a Province;
- Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly or a Provincial Assembly;
- Chief Election Commissioner;
- Attorney-General for Pakistan or Advocate- General for a Province;
- Auditor-General of Pakistan.
- Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, for a period of six months from the commencing day, a Federal Minister or a Minister of State or the Chief Minister of a Province or a Provincial Minister may be a person who is not a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or, as the case may be, the Provincial Assembly of that Province; and such Chief Minister and Provincial Minister shall have the right to speak and otherwise take part in the proceedings of the Provincial Assembly or any committee thereof of which he may be named a member, but shall not by virtue of this clause be entitled to vote.
- Any person who under this Article, is continued in an office in respect of which a form of oath is set out in the Third Schedule shall, as soon as is practicable after the commencing day make before the appropriate person oath in that form.
- Subject to the Constitution and law
- all civil, criminal and revenue Courts exercising jurisdiction and functions immediately before the commencing day shall, as from that day, continue to exercise their respective jurisdictions and functions; and
- all authorities and all offices (whether judicial, executive, revenue or ministerial) throughout Pakistan exercising functions immediately before the commencing day shall, as from that day, continue to exercise their respective functions.
Key Points of Article 275 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Continuance in Service: Article 275 dictates that individuals serving in various capacities within the Pakistani government before the “commencing day” of a constitutional change shall continue in their roles. The terms and conditions applicable to them under the Interim Constitution remain unaltered.
- Applicability to Key Positions: The provision extends to key positions, including Chief Justices, Judges, Governors, Chief Ministers, Speakers, Deputy Speakers, Chief Election Commissioners, Attorneys-General, and Auditors-General.
- Exception for a Limited Period: For the initial six months following the commencing day, certain officials, such as Federal Ministers and Chief Ministers, may temporarily hold office without being members of the Majlis-e-Shoora or Provincial Assembly. Despite this exception, they retain the right to participate in proceedings without voting rights.
- Oath Requirement: Individuals continuing in office under Article 275 are obligated to take an oath as outlined in the Third Schedule of the Constitution, emphasizing the legal formality of their continued service.
- Continuity of Courts and Authorities: The article ensures the uninterrupted functioning of civil, criminal, and revenue courts, as well as various authorities and offices throughout Pakistan. They maintain their respective jurisdictions and functions from the commencing day of the constitutional change.
Crux of Article 275 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 275 serves as a safeguard mechanism for the stability and continuity of governance during times of constitutional transition. By allowing key individuals to continue in their roles and preserving the functionality of essential institutions, the article aims to prevent disruptions that may arise during the establishment of a new legal order.
The careful inclusion of specific positions and the temporary exception for certain officials reflect a thoughtful approach to balance stability and adaptability during these transitional periods. The requirement of taking the prescribed oath further solidifies the legal legitimacy of the continued service of individuals.
Conclusion: Article 275 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In summary, Article 275 of Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution stands as evidence of its foresight and resilience during times of transition. It provides a blueprint to maintain governance continuity while adapting to a rapidly-evolving constitutional environment. By understanding its key points we gain insights into its legal foundation that underpin the resilience and stability of Pakistani governance during transformative times.
Article 275 serves as an essential reminder that legal frameworks do not remain static over time; rather they evolve with our evolving society. The architects of the 1973 Constitution anticipated such needs, ensuring that governance remains at its core even through constitutional revisions.