What superior courts’ judgements say about Article 149

September 22,2019

ISLAMABAD: Superior courts have interpreted Article 149 dealing with directions to provinces in certain cases, which Federal Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem wants to apply to Karachi. After a sharp...

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ISLAMABAD: Superior courts have interpreted Article 149 dealing with directions to provinces in certain cases, which Federal Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem wants to apply to Karachi. After a sharp reaction from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) that rules Sindh emerged on the federal plan, there has been no talk about its immediate implementation.

As per judgements/ordered reported in 1991 SCMR [Supreme Court Monthly Review] 2193; 2009 CLC [Company Law Cases] 1399, Article 149 empowers the federal government to give directions to the provincial government so as to protect and advance its own executive authority in discharging its responsibilities under the Constitution and the laws, obliging thereby the provincial government to comply with such directions.

According to Clause (3) of Article 149, the provincial government, if so directed by the Federation, is obliged to construct and maintain means of communication that may be declared to be of national and strategic importance, according to judgements/ordered reported in PLD [Pakistan Legal Decisions] 2005 Kar 55.

Provisions of articles 148 and 149 regulate relationship between the Federation and a province in a situation in which federal law is applicable in that province and a situation has arisen in which it is to be considered as to how the federal law is to be made applicable so that it should bring about the desired result and be effective so that proper remedial measures are adopted to contain and control the situation in which the federal government has to adopt supervisory role and give directions to the province in which the federal law is being applied as per judgements/ordered reported in PLD 1998 SC 388.

Charge and recovery of the property tax is the exclusive domain of provincial legislature as the Constitution has provided full authority to all the provinces to charge the same and to make laws and rules for the charge and recovery. Provisions of articles 148 and 149 have no bearing on unbridled rights of the province for charging the property tax, according to judgements/ordered reported in 2009 CLC 1399-2009 PTD 1868.

The law minister wanted to invoke in Karachi clause 4 of Article 149, which says the executive authority of the Federation shall also extend to the giving of directions to a province as to the manner in which the executive authority, thereof, is to be exercised for the purpose of preventing any grave menace to the peace or tranquillity or economic life of Pakistan or any part thereof.

The provision empowers the federal government to issue directions to prevent any grave menace to the peace or tranquility or economic life of Pakistan or any of its part. The other clauses of Article 149 say the executive authority of every province shall be so exercised as not to impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive authority of the Federation, and the executive authority of the Federation shall extend to the giving of such directions to a province as may appear to the federal government to be necessary for that purpose.

The executive authority of the Federation shall also extend to the giving of directions to a province as to the construction and maintenance of means of communication declared in the direction to be of national or strategic importance.


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