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Overview of Article 53 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, adopted in 1973, forms the cornerstone of the Pakistani legal framework, shaping governance and democratic processes across the nation. Of its many articles, Article 53 stands out for addressing Speaker/Deputy Speaker appointments to the National Assembly. In this blog post we dive deeper into Article 53 to unveil its intricate details while also shed light on its essential role in upholding Pakistani parliamentary democracy.
Article 53 States
53. Speaker and Deputy Speaker of National Assembly.
- After a general election, the National Assembly shall, at its first meeting and to the exclusion of any other business, elect from amongst its members a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker and, so often as the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, the Assembly shall elect another member as Speaker or, as the case may be, Deputy Speaker.
- Before entering upon office, a member elected as Speaker or Deputy Speaker shall make before the National Assembly oath in the form set out in the Third Schedule.
- When the office of Speaker is vacant, or the Speaker is absent or is unable to perform his functions due to any cause, the Deputy Speaker shall act as Speaker, and if, at that time, the Deputy Speaker is also absent or is unable to act as Speaker due to any cause, such member as may be determined by the rules of procedure of the Assembly shall preside at the meeting of the Assembly.
- The Speaker or the Deputy Speaker shall not preside at a meeting of the Assembly when a resolution for his removal from office is being considered.
- The Speaker may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office.
- The Deputy Speaker may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker, resign his office.
- The office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker shall become vacant if:
- he resigns his office;
- he ceases to be a member of the Assembly;
- he is removed from office by a resolution of the Assembly, of which not less than seven days’ notice has been given and which is passed by the votes of the majority of the total membership of the Assembly.
- When the National Assembly is dissolved the Speaker shall continue in his office till the person elected to fill the office by the next Assembly enters upon his office.
Key Points of Article 53 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker: Following general elections, the National Assembly meets at its inaugural session to select its new leaders – Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively – among its membership. When an office of either Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, this Assembly is responsible for electing new members into these roles.
- Oath of Office: Before they assume their roles as Speaker or Deputy Speaker, elected members must swear an oath before the National Assembly that complies with a specific form specified in the Third Schedule of the Constitution. This pledge demonstrates their dedication to uphold and fulfill their responsibilities faithfully as per this oath.
- Acting as Speaker: In the absence or incapacity of both Speaker and Deputy Speaker to fulfill their functions for any reason, their duties are taken over by an appointed member determined by the Assembly’s rules of procedure who serves as acting Speaker for that meeting.
- Exclusion From Meetings: Article 53 contains an important provision that prohibits Speaker or Deputy Speaker from presiding over Assembly meetings when considering resolutions to remove them from office, emphasizing the necessity for fair and impartial processes when considering such resolutions.
- Resignation: Under the Constitution, Speakers may resign their office by submitting a written resignation to either President or the other Speaker; similarly Deputy Speakers can submit written resignations directly to them as well. This ensures that those in these roles may step down if necessary.
- Vacating the Office: Article 53 provides that an Office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker may become vacant under various conditions, including resignation, ceasing to be a member of the Assembly, or removal by resolution from said Assembly; such a resolution requires not less than seven days’ notice and majority vote by said membership.
- Continued service of the Speaker: When a National Assembly is dissolved, its speaker retains their office until someone elected by its next assembly to fill that position takes office. This ensures a seamless transfer of authority between assembly sessions.
Crux of Article 53 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 53 is central to Pakistan’s democratic framework as it establishes the principles and guidelines governing the appointment, responsibilities, tenure and election of both Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. By setting clear standards for their election it ensures they reflect the will of their constituents by coming from within their Assembly membership thereby reflecting peoples wishes accurately.
Acting Speakers ensure the smooth running of Assembly proceedings in their absence or incapacity. Furthermore, when considering removal resolutions they do not preside over meetings to maintain fairness during proceedings.
Resignation provisions provide an exit strategy for those holding such important roles, enabling them to step down if circumstances dictate it. Furthermore, the conditions surrounding vacating an office underscore accountability and transparency within Pakistan’s parliamentary system.
Furthermore, the continuation of the Speaker’s role following dissolution of the National Assembly ensures that critical functions continue uninterrupted.
Conclusion: Article 53 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 53 of Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution forms the cornerstone of its parliamentary democracy by outlining guidelines and rules that regulate both Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. It plays a critical role in guaranteeing efficient and transparent functioning of Pakistan’s legislative body.
Article 53 of Pakistan’s Constitution upholds democratic, transparent, and accountable principles by providing safeguards that ensure impartiality and integrity of Speaker and Deputy Speaker roles, enabling fair election, orderly resignation, or removal from office when necessary. These provisions demonstrate Pakistan’s dedication to upholding rule of law values while creating an ideal environment for effective functioning of the National Assembly.
Pakistan continues its journey toward democracy, guided by Article 53 as its political and legislative basis. This landmark document expresses Pakistan’s dedication to democratic governance, the rule of law and citizen participation through their elected representatives in the National Assembly.