Missing bill has become a conundrum after it was passed by both the houses of the parliament. FAFEN and PILDAT seek clarity.
The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) and the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) have jointly urged the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to clarify the status of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2022. This bill, which was approved by both Houses of Parliament, has since gone missing reportedly, prompting the need for clarification.
Missing Bill: Need for Transparency & Accountability
Emphasizing the sanctity of laws passed by the Parliament and their crucial role in upholding a just and transparent legal system, FAFEN and PILDAT underscore the importance of ensuring that legislative processes remain transparent and accountable to the citizens they serve.
Introduced as a Private Member’s Bill in the Upper House by Senator Irfan-ul-Haq Siddiqui, the bill aimed to transfer judicial powers from the executive to summary courts composed of judicial magistrates for the handling of minor offenses. It is important to note that this bill exclusively pertained to the Islamabad Capital Territory.
According to official parliamentary records accessible through the website and confirmed by FAFEN’s direct observations, the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2022, successfully progressed through both the Senate on May 23, 2022, and the National Assembly on June 8, 2022. In the National Assembly, the bill was presented by MNA Shaza Fatima Khawaja.
Under Article 70 of the Constitution, a bill can originate in either House of Parliament and must secure Presidential assent following passage through both Houses. Upon receiving Presidential Assent, the bill transforms into law, thereby becoming an Act of Parliament. As delineated in Article 142 (b) and (d) of the Constitution, the Parliament retains the authority to legislate on criminal procedure and holds exclusive jurisdiction over legislation concerning the Islamabad Capital Territory.
Missing Bill: Who Is Responsible?
Under the Rules of Business 1973, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs bears the responsibility of forwarding bills passed by the Majlis-e-Shura (Parliament) to the President for assent. Generally, the bills receiving Presidential assent are electronically published in the ‘Acts of Parliament’ section on the official websites of the National Assembly and the Senate. Strangely, the aforementioned bill is conspicuously absent from both websites.
In the interest of upholding the principles of transparency and accountability, it is imperative that the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs promptly addresses the concerns raised by FAFEN and PILDAT regarding the missing status of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
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