Conspiracy Act, 1951
The following act was passed by the Constituent
Assembly in the wake of the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case. It was opposed
by the liberals in the assembly as detremental to the modern
concept of justice.
Rawalpindi Conspiracy (Special Tribunal) Act, 1951
An Act to provide/or the setting-up of the
Special Tribunal to try Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case and other matters
Gazette, 28th April 1951
The Act of Constituent Assembly, passed on the 16th
April 1951, is hereby published under the authority of the President
of the Constituent Assembly.
Whereas it is expedient to provide for the setting
up of a Special Tribunal to try the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case and
other matters connected therewith;
It is hereby enacted as follows:-
1. Short title and commencement. (1) This Act
may be called the Rawalpindi Conspiracy (Special Tribunal) Act,
(2) It extends to the whole of Pakistan.
(3) It shall come into force at once.
2. Special Tribunal. (1) For the trial of the
Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case (hereinafter referred to as "the
said case") the Central Government shall by notification set
up a Special Tribunal, composed of three persons, each of whom is
a Judge of the Federal Court or a High Court, and shall nominate
one of the said persons to be the President of the Special Tribunal.
Explanation. The expression 'Rawalpindi Conspiracy
Case' means any case which may be placed before the Special Tribunal
by the Central Government under subsection (2) of section 3, and
which arises out of the reasonable conspiracy unearthed in February-March
(2) If through death, illness or any other case, a
member of the Special Tribunal is unable to continue to sit thereon,
the Central Government may, by notification, declare that he
has vacated his office as such member, and may appoint thereto,
another person who is a Judge of the Federal Court or a High Court:
Provided that the Special Tribunal shall not, merely
by reason of any change in its membership, be bound to recall and
rehear any witness who has given evidence prior to such change,
and it may act on the evidence already given or produced before
(3) In the event of any difference of opinion among
the members of the Special Tribunal, the view of the majority
shall prevail, and the order or judgment shall be expressed in terms
of the view of the majority.
3. Commencement of proceedings. (1) No Court
in Pakistan, other than the Special Tribunal, shall take cognizance
of the said case.
(2) As soon as may be after the constitution of the
Special Tribunal, the Central Government shall take steps to forward
to the Special Tribunal, a statement of the said case on behalf
of the prosecution, together with a list of formal charges of offences
alleged to have been committed by each of the accused persons reciting
the law under which each such offence is punishable, and a list
of witnesses whom it is intended to produce in support of each charge.
The said formal charges shall be deemed to be the charges in the
trial for the purposes of section 271, Code of Criminal procedure,
Note. The submission of a list of witnesses
under this subsection shall not preclude the Central Government
or the prosecution from submitting additional names of witnesses
at any subsequent stage of the prosecution evidence in the case.
4. Powers and Procedure of Special Tribunal.
(1) The Special Tribunal shall have in relation to the proceedings
in the said case all the powers of a High Court in relation to criminal
trials including the power of punishing for contempts and shall
follow in all respects the procedure provided for trials before
High Courts in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, except as hereinafter
(a) the trial shall be without a jury, and the relevant
sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, shall be read
as if all references to a jury or jurymen, and all references to
commitment proceedings or any statements or documents made or prepared
in the course of commitment proceedings, had been excluded therefrom;
(b) section 297 of the said Code shall be read as
if it required the Special Tribunal, upon the case for the defence
and the prosecutor's reply (if any) being concluded, to proceed,
with all reasonable speed, to pronounce its judgment;
(c) the proceedings of the Court shall be recorded
in English under the direct supervision of the Special Tribunal,
and one of the members thereof shall make a memorandum of the
substance of the evidence of each witness as the examination proceeds:
Provided that, by direction of the Special Tribunal,
the evidence of any witness may be taken down in shorthand or typescript
by a person specially appointed for the purpose, and the transcript
of the shorthand or typescript, duly corrected, shall be placed
on the record; and
(d) all orders and proceedings, and the evidence of
each witness shall be signed by at least two members of the Special
Tribunal, and the final judgment shall be signed by each of the
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection
(1), the Special Tribunal shall not admit any of the accused persons
in the said case to bail.
5. Jurisdiction of Special Tribunal. (1) The
Special Tribunal shall have jurisdiction to try any offence
by any of the accused persons, which is mentioned in the list of
formal charges, wherever it may have been committed, including offences
under the Army Act, 1881, or the Army Act, 1911, and under any law
for the time being in force, notwithstanding that any such offence
is declared by the relevant law to be triable only by courtmartial,
or other tribunal and not by the ordinary Criminal Courts, or is
declared to be triable only by a special procedure.
(2) Conviction of accused person of offence not charged.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal
Procedure, 1898 or any other law, the Special Tribunal may
convict any of the accused persons of any offence under any law
in force at the time of the commission of such offence, if it appears
in evidence that he committed, such offence, although he was not
charged with it, and whether or not such offence is a minor offence
composed of certain particulars comprised in one or more of
the offences charged.
(3) Separation of trial of any charge. The
Special Tribunal may, at any time, if it deems fit to do so in the
interest of justice, and to avoid prejudice to any of the accused
persons, separate the trial of any charge or charges, against one
or more of the accused persons, from the trial of the remaining
charges and the trial of any charge so separated shall be deemed
to be a part of the trial of the said case.
(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection
(2) of section 2, Army Act, 1911, any of the accused persons who
was subject to that Act at the time of the commission of any offence
under that Act which is charged against him and is included in the
list of formal charges, shall be deemed for all the purposes of
this Act, to be subject to the Army Act, 1911.
(5) For the purposes of this section, the expression
'offence' shall include the abetment thereof by any of the accused
6. Place of sitting. (1) The Special Tribunal
shall hold its sittings at such place or places as the Central Government
(2) Public not to be admitted. The proceedings
of the Special Tribunal shall not be-open to the public.
(3) Application of section 5, Official Secrets Act,
1923. Every person who being in possession of any document
or information concerning the proceedings in the said case
before the Special Tribunal by virtue of participation therein,
whether as a witness or as an officer of the Court, or otherwise
howsoever, discloses such document or information to-any person
other than a person who is officially connected with the preparation
or conduct of the said case, shall be deemed to be guilty of an
offence under section 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
Exception. The provisions of this subsection
shall not apply to any communication between any accused person
and his counsel, which is made bonafide for the purposes of the
defence of such accused person in the case.
7. Restriction of adjournments. No trial before
the Special Tribunal shall be adjourned for any purpose unless the
Special Tribunal is of opinion that the adjournment is in the interests
of justice, and in particular, no trial shall be adjourned by reason
of the absence of any accused person, if such accused person is
represented by Counsel, or if the absence of the accused person
or his Counsel has been brought about by the accused person himself,
or if the behaviour of the accused person, prior to such absence
has been, in the opinion of the Special Tribunal, such as to impede
the course of justice but in any such case, the Special Tribunal
shall proceed with the trial after taking necessary steps to appoint
an advocate to defend any accused person who is not represented
8. Special Rules of evidence. (1) Notwithstanding
anything contained in the Evidence Act, 1872, the Special Tribunal
may receive in evidence, for such purposes as it may deem fit, any
statement recorded by a Magistrate made by any person who, at the
time of the trial, is dead, or whose attendance cannot be procured
without an amount of delay or expense which is unreasonable in the
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Evidence
Act, 1872, or in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, the Special
Tribunal may receive in evidence, for such purposes as it may think
fit, any statement recorded in the course of the investigation
of the said case by a Police Officer, made by any person who is
examined at the trial whether as a witness or as an accused person.
9. Sentence which Special Tribunal may pass.
The Special Tribunal may pass upon any of the accused persons, any
sentence which is authorised by law.
10. Bar of appeal and revisions. (1) No order,
judgment or sentence of the Special Tribunal shall be called in
question in appeal or revision or otherwise howsoever in any Court,
and no Court shall entertain any plea as to the jurisdiction
of the Special Tribunal, or as to the legality or propriety of anything
done or purporting to be done by the Special Tribunal.
(2) No Court shall have power to order the release
of any accused person in the said case under section 491, Criminal
Procedure Code, or any other provision of law, for so long as the
Special Tribunal is seized of the said case.
11. Provision as to pardons, reprieves, etc.
The provisions of Chapter XXIX of the Code of Criminal Procedure,
1898, shall not apply to sentences awarded by the Special Tribunal,
but nothing in this section shall be deemed to interfere with the
right of the Governor-General, under the powers delegated to him
by His Majesty to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions,
in respect of persons convicted and sentenced by the Special Tribunal.
12. Provision of Counsel for undefended accused persons.
The Special Tribunal may, at any stage of the case, direct
that an advocate, to be selected by the Special Tribunal shall
be engaged, at the expense of the Central Government, to defend
any accused person who is not represented by Counsel, and may also
determine the fees to be paid to such advocate.
RAWALPINDI CONSPIRACY (SPECIAL TRIBUNAL) (AMENDMENT)
An Act to amend the Rawalpindi Conspiracy (Special
Tribunal) Act, 1951
This Act of the Constituent Assembly was passed on
the 22nd day of November, 1952 and was published in the Gazette,
dated 27th November, 1952 under the authority of the President
of the Constituent Assembly.
Whereas it is expedient to amend the Rawalpindi Conspiracy
(Special Tribunal) Act, 1951, for the purposes hereinafter appearing;
It is hereby enacted as follow s:-
1. Short title. This Act may be called the Rawalpindi
(Special Tribunal) (Amendment) Act, 1952.
2. Amendment of section 6, Rawalpindi Conspiracy (Special
Tribunal) Act, 1951. To section 6 of the Rawalpindi Conspiracy
(Special Tribunal) Act, 1951, after the Exception, the following
new subsections shall be added, namely:
"(4) The proceedings referred to in this section
include any order, judgment and sentence of the Special Tribunal,
but nothing in this section shall prevent the Central Government
from publishing the whole or any part of any such order, judgment
or sentence, if it deems fit to do so.
(5) The Tribunal shall not give a copy of any order,
judgment or sentence to any accused person whom it concerns, but
shall show him and his lawyer the same and permit him and his lawyer
to make such memorandum thereof as he and his lawyer may require
in order to draw up a petition seeking the exercise of the powers
mentioned in section II."
Source: The Times and Trial of the Rawalpindi
Oxford University Press (Karachi) 1998.
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