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Nestled within the pages of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan lies Article 48, a crucial provision that delineates the powers and responsibilities of the President. This article charts the course for how the President should act on advice, exercising discretion where needed. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the intricacies of Article 48, unravel its key points, and gain a deeper understanding of the President’s role and authority within the constitutional framework.
Overview of Article 48 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 48 of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan stands as a pillar that defines the modus operandi of the President, particularly in relation to acting on advice and exercising discretion. It provides clarity on when the President must heed advice and when they have the liberty to make independent decisions.
Article 48 States
48. President to act on advice, etc.
- In the exercise of his functions, the President shall act on and in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or the Prime Minister:
Provided that after fifteen days the President may require the Cabinet or as the case may be, the Prime Minister to reconsider such advice, either generally or otherwise, and the President shall, within ten days, act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration.
- Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (1), the President shall act in his discretion in respect of any matter in respect of which he is empowered by the Constitution to do so and the validity of anything done by the President in his discretion shall not be called in question on any ground whatsoever
- The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered to the President by the Cabinet, the Prime Minister, a Minister or Minister of State shall not be inquired into in, or by, any court, tribunal or other authority.
- Where the President dissolves the National Assembly, notwithstanding anything contained in clause (1), he shall-
- appoint a date, not later than ninety days from the date of the dissolution, for the holding of a general election to the Assembly; and
- appoint a care-taker Cabinet in accordance with the provisions of Article 224 or, as the case may be, Article 224-A.
- If at any time the Prime Minister considers it necessary to hold a referendum on any matter of national importance, he may refer the matter to a joint sitting of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and if it is approved in a joint sitting, the Prime Minister may cause such matter to be referred to a referendum in the form of a question that is capable of being answered by either “Yes” or “No”.
- An act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) may lay down the procedure for the holding of a referendum and the compiling and consolidation of the result of a referendum
Key Points of Article 48 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 48 encapsulates several key points that elucidate the role and powers of the President:
Mandatory Advice: In performing his functions, the President is bound to follow advice provided by the Cabinet or Prime Minister.
Reconsideration of Advice: Although the President must follow advice tendered to him or her, they have the option of seeking reconsideration of that advice and then act in accordance with it after having done so.
Presidential Discretion: In matters empowered by the Constitution, the President can exercise discretion. Such actions are valid and beyond questioning.
Non-Inquiry into Advice: The Constitution bars any court, tribunal, or authority from inquiring into whether advice was given to the President by government officials.
Dissolution of National Assembly: If the President dissolves the National Assembly, he must ensure the timely holding of a general election to the Assembly and appoint a caretaker Cabinet.
Referendum Powers: The Prime Minister holds the authority to call a national referendum on significant matters, subject to approval by a joint sitting of Parliament.
Procedure for Referendum: The Parliament can establish the procedural framework for conducting a referendum and compiling and consolidating the results.
Crux of Article 48 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The heart of Article 48 lies in its meticulous guidance on the President’s conduct. It reinforces the principles of a parliamentary system, emphasizing the President’s duty to act on the advice of the Cabinet or Prime Minister. Simultaneously, the provision safeguards the President’s discretionary powers in certain situations, maintaining a delicate balance between accountability and independence.
Conclusion: Article 48 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 48 of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan serves as a cornerstone of the nation’s governance structure. It navigates the President’s responsibilities and authority, illuminating the path for when to heed advice and when to exercise discretion. In the rich tapestry of Pakistan’s constitution, Article 48 upholds democratic values and ensures that the highest office in the land remains in harmony with the nation’s governance principles.
With a focus on the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan and Article 48, this provision acts as a compass for presidential powers and responsibilities, reflecting the nation’s commitment to constitutional governance and the rule of law.