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Legal Framework Order, 1970

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Legal Framework Order, 1970

The Legal Framework Order was issued as President's Order No. 2 of 1970 by the President and Chief Martial Law Administrator, General A. M. Yahya Khan on March 30, 1970 in Rawalpindi.

Although the Order mainly dealt with election procedures, it can still be counted as a constitutional landmark because it was in this order that the principle of adult franchise was reintroduced to promote direct election of legislature and executive. Also, the Order provided some basic principles for the future constitution of the country.


Legal Framework Order, 1970

WHEREAS in his first address to the nation on the 26th March, 1969, the President and Chief Martial Law Administrator pledged himself to strive to restore democratic institutions in the country;

AND WHEREAS in his address to the nation on the 28th November, 1969, he reaffirmed that pledge and announced that polling for a general election to a National Assembly of Pakistan will commence on the 5th October, 1970;

AND WHEREAS he has since decided that polling for elections to the Provincial Assemblies shall commence not later than the 22nd October, 1970 ;

AND WHEREAS provision has already been made by the Electoral Rolls Order, 1969, for the preparation of electoral rolls for the purpose of election of representatives of the people on the basis of adult franchise :

AND WHEREAS it is necessary to provide for the constitution of a National Assembly of Pakistan for the purpose of making provision as to the Constitution of Pakistan in accordance with this Order and a Provincial Assembly for each Province ;

NOW, THEREFORE, in pursuance of the Proclamation of the 25th day of March, 1969, and in exercise of all powers enabling him in that behalf, the President and Chief Martial Law Administrator is pleased to make the following order:

Short Title

Article 1

(1) This Order may be called the Legal Framework Order, 1970.

(2) It shall come into force on such date as the President may, by notification in the official Gazette, appoint in this behalf.

To override other laws

Article 2

This order shall have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the Provisional Constitution Order, the Constitution of 1962 of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or any other law for the time being in force.

Definitions

Article 3

(1) In this order unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context.

(i) "Assembly" means the National Assembly of Pakistan or a Provincial Assembly for a Province provided for in this Order ;

(ii) "Commission" means the Election Commission constituted under Article 8 ;

(lit) "Commissioner" means the Chief Election Commissioner appointed or deemed to be appointed under the Electoral Rolls Older, 1969 (P. 0. No. 6 of 1969) ;

(iv) "electoral roll" means the electoral roll prepared under the Electoral Rolls Order, 1969, (P.O. No. 6 of 1969) ;

(v) "member" means member of an Assembly.

(vi) "Speaker" means the Speaker of the National Assembly; and

(vii) "Centrally Administered Tribal Areas" has the same meaning as in the Province of West Pakistan (Dissolution) Order, 1970.

(2) In relation to the territories included at the commencement of this Order in the Province of West Pakistan, references to a Province and a Provincial Assembly shall be construed as references respectively to a new Province provided for in the Province of West Pakistan (Dissolution) Order, 1970, and the Provincial Assembly for such Province.

Composition of N.A.

Article 4

(1) There shall be a National Assembly of Pakistan consisting of three hundred and thirteen members of -whom three hundred shall be elected to fill general seats and thirteen to fill seats reserved for women.

(2) In conformity with the population figures appearing in the Census of 1961, the number of seats in National Assembly shall be distributed amongst the Provinces and the Centrally Administered Tribal Areas, as set out in Schedule I.

(3) Clause (1) shall not be construed as preventing a woman from being elected to a general seat.

Provincial Assemblies

Article 5

(1) There shall be a Provincial Assembly for each Province consisting of the number of members elected to fill general seats and to fill seats reserved for women, as set out in Schedule II in relation to such Province.

(2) Clause (1) shall not be construed as preventing a woman from being elected to a general seat.

Principle of election

Article 6

(1) Except as provided in clause (2), the members shall be elected to the general seats from territorial constituencies by direct election on the basis of adult franchise in accordance with law.

(2) The President may, by regulation, make separate provision for election of members from the Centrally Administered Tribal Areas.

(3) As soon as practicable after the general election of members of the National Assembly, the members from a Province for the seats reserved for women in that Assembly shall be elected by persons elected to the general seats from that Province in accordance with law.

(4) The members for scats reserved for women in a Provincial Assembly shall be elected by persons elected to the general seats in that Assembly in accordance with law.

Casual vacancy

Article 7

Where a seat in the National Assembly has become vacant, an election to fill the vacancy shall be held within three weeks from the occurrence of the vacancy.

Election Commission

Article 8

For the purposes of election of the members of an Assembly and matters connected therewith, the President shall constitute an Election Commission consisting of the following members namely:

(a) the Commissioner, who shall be the Chairman of the Commission; and

(b) two other members, each being a person who is a permanent Judge of a High Court.

Qualifications and disqualifications.

Article 9

(1) A person shall, subject to the provisions of Clause (2), be qualified to be elected as, and to be, a member if-

(a) he is citizen of Pakistan;

(b) he has attained the age of twenty-five years; and

(c) his name appears on the electoral roll for any constituency in the Province or Centrally Administered Tribal Areas from which he seeks election.

(2) A person shall be disqualified from beings-elected as, and from being, a member if-

(a) he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court; or

(b) he is an undischarged insolvent unless a period of ten years has elapsed since his being adjudged as insolvent; or

(c) he has been, on conviction for any offence, sentenced to transportation for any term or to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years, or such less period as the President may allow in any particular case, has elapsed since his release; or

(d) he has been a member of the President's Council of Ministers at any time following the 1st August, 1969 unless a period of two years or such less period as the President may allow in any particular case, has elapsed since he ceased to be a Minister; or

(e) he holds office in the service of Pakistan other than an office which is not a wholetime office remunerated either by salary or by fee; or

(f) he has been dismissed for misconduct from the service of Pakistan, unless a period of five years, or such less period as the President may allow in any particular case, has elapsed since his dismissal; or

(g) such person is the spouse of a person in the service of Pakistan; or

(h) he, whether by himself or by any person or body of persons in trust for him or for his benefit or on his account or as a member of a Hindu undivided family, has any share or interest in a contract not being a contract between a co-operative society and Government, for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any contract or the performance of any services undertaken by Government:

Provided that the disqualification under sub-clause, (h) shall not apply to a person -

(i) where the share or interest in the contract devolves on him by inheritance or succession or as a legatee, executor or administrator, until the expiration of six months after it has so devolved on him or such longer period as the President may, in any particular case, allow; or

(ii) where the contract has been entered into by or ' on behalf of a public company as defined in the Companies Act, 1913 (VII of 1913), of which he is a share-holder but is neither a director holding an office of profit under the company nor a managing agent; or

(iii) where he is a member of a Hindu undivided family and the contract has been entered into by any other member of that family in the course of carrying on a separate business in which he has no share or interest.

(3) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that a Judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court, the Comptroller and Auditor General of Pakistan, the Attorney General of Pakistan and an Advocate General of a Province are persons holding offices in the service of Pakistan.

(4) If any question arises whether a member has after his election, become subject to any disqualification the Commissioner shall place the question before the Election Commission and, if the opinion of the Commission be that the member has become so subject, his seat shall become vacant.

Bar against candidature

Article 10

(1) No person shall at the same time be a member of more than one Assembly or a member of the same Assembly for more than one constituency.

(2) Nothing in clause (1) shall prevent a person from being at the same time a candidate for election from two or more constituencies, but if a person has been elected as a member for two or more constituencies and does not within fifteen days of the notification of his election by the constituency by which he has been elected last, make a declaration in writing under his hand addressed to the Commissioner specifying the constituency which he wishes to represent, all his seats shall become vacant, but so long as he is a member for two or more constituencies he shall not sit or vote in an Assembly.

Resignation

Article 11

(1) A member may resign his seat by notice in writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker.

(2) If a member is absent from the Assembly without leave of the Speaker for fifteen consecutive sitting days, his seat shall become vacant.

(3) If a member fails to take and subscribe an oath in accordance with Article 12 within a period of seven days from the date of the first meeting of the Assembly after | his election, his seat shall become vacant :

Provided that the Speaker or, if the Speaker has not been elected, the Commissioner, may, before the expiration of the said period, for good cause shown, extend the period.

Article 12

A person elected as a member of an Assembly shall, before entering upon the office, take and subscribe, before a person presiding at a meeting of the Assembly, an oath or affirmation in the following form, namely :-

"I... do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and that I will discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter honestly, to the best of my ability, faithfully in accordance with the provisions of the Legal Framework Order, 1970, the law and rules of the Assembly set out in that Order, and always in the interest of the solidarity, integrity, well-being and prosperity of Pakistan."

Date of polling

Article 13

Polling for election to the National Assembly shall commence on the 5th October, 1970 and polling for election to the Provincial Assemblies shall commence on a date not later than the 22nd October, 1970.

Summoning of Assembly

Article 14

(i) After the close of the general election of members of the National Assembly, the President shall, for the purpose of framing a Constitution for Pakistan, summon the National Assembly to meet on such day and at such time and place as he may think fit; and the National Assembly so summoned shall stand constituted on the day of its first meeting:

Provided that nothing in this clause shall be construed as preventing the President from summoning the National Assembly on the ground that all the seats of the members have not been filled.

(2) After meeting as convened under clause (1), the National Assembly shall meet at such times and places as the Speaker may decide.

(3) The National Assembly shall, subject to reasonable adjournments, meet from day to day to transact its business.

Article 15

The President may address the National Assembly and send a message or messages to the Assembly.

Speaker and Deputy Speaker

Article 16

(1) The National Assembly shall, as soon as may be, elect two of its members to be respectively the Speaker and Deputy Speaker thereof and shall, so often as the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, elect another member to be the Speaker, or, as the case may be. Deputy Speaker.

(2) Until the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected, the Commissioner shall preside at the meetings of the National Assembly and perform the functions of Speaker.

(3) Where the office of the Speaker is vacant, the Deputy Speaker, or, if the office of the Deputy Speaker is also vacant, the Commissioner, shall perform the functions of Speaker.

(4) During the absence of the Speaker from any meeting of the National Assembly, the Deputy Speaker or if the Deputy Speaker is also absent, such member, as may be determined by the rules of procedure of the Assembly, shall perform the functions of Speaker.

(5) A member holding office as Speaker or Deputy Speaker shall cease to hold that office-

(a) if he ceases to be a member of the National Assembly;

(b) if he resigns his office by writing under his hand addressed to the President; or

(c) if a resolution expressing want of confidence in him is moved in the Assembly after not less than fourteen days' notice of the intention to move it and passed by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the total number of members of the National Assembly.

Quorum and Rules of Procedure

Article 17

(1) If, at any time during a meeting of the National Assembly, the attention of the person presiding at the meeting is drawn to the fact that the number of persons present is less than one hundred, the person presiding shall either suspend the meeting until the number of members present is not less than one hundred or adjourn the meeting.

(2) The procedure of the National Assembly shall be regulated by the rules of procedure set out in Schedule III; in particular the National Assembly shall decide how a decision relating to the Constitution Bill is to be taken.

(3) The National Assembly may act notwithstanding any vacancy in the seat of a member and no proceedings in the Assembly shall be invalid by reason that some members whose election is subsequently held to have been void or who, after election had incurred a disqualification for membership . voted or otherwise took part in the proceedings.

Privileges, etc.

Article 18

(1) The validity of any proceeding? in the National Assembly shall not be called in question in any court.

(2) A member or a person entitled to speak in the National Assembly shall not be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in the Assembly or in any committee thereof.

(3) The exercise by an officer of the National Assembly of the powers vested in him for the regulation of procedure, the conduct of business or the maintenance of order, in or in relation to any proceeding in the Assembly shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of any court.

(4) A person shall not be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of the publication by, or under the authority of the National Assembly of any report, paper, vote or proceedings.

(5) No process issued by a court or other authority shall, except with the leave of the Speaker, be served or executed within the precincts of the place where a meeting of the National Assembly or of any Committee thereof is being held.

Allowances of members

Article 19

The Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the other members shall be entitled to such allowances and privileges as the President may, by order, prescribe.

Fundamental Principles of the Constitution

Article 20

The Constitution shall be so framed as to embody the following fundamental principles :-

(1) Pakistan shall be a federal republic to be known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in which the provinces and other territories which are now and may hereinafter be included in Pakistan shall be so united in a federation that the independence, the territorial integrity and the national solidarity of Pakistan are ensured and that the unity of the federation is not in any manner impaired.

(2) (a) Islamic ideology which is the basis for the creation of Pakistan shall be preserved ; and

(b) the Head of the State shall be a Muslim.

(3) (a) Adherence to fundamental principles of democracy shall be ensured by providing direct and free periodical elections to the federal and the