Govt plans to do legislation in joint parliamentary sitting

July 07, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government plans to get some bills passed for fulfillment of certain conditions listed by the Financial Action Task Force for Pakistan from the joint session of Parliament to be held...

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ISLAMABAD: The government plans to get some bills passed for fulfillment of certain conditions listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for Pakistan from the joint session of Parliament to be held during the current month.

“We will present the FATF-related bills in the joint sitting and will also table some proposed pieces of legislation in the National Assembly that starts its next session on Wednesday,” Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan told The News when contacted.

The plan, he said, is to clear the legislative business pending disposal since long so that Parliament performs its actual duty and obligation of lawmaking. He said he was trying to push for maximum legislation by Parliament.

The adviser said that these bills pertain to virtual currency, Waqf, trust and cooperatives, antiterrorism, increase in the number of Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges and amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code.

He said in-between the continuation of the National Assembly session the joint parliamentary sitting will be convened. How long the two House assembled together will remain in session will depend upon the business before them, he said.

A number of governmentbills, which have been passed by the National Assembly, are stuck up in the Senate because of the domination of the opposition parties in the Upper House of Parliament. The treasury benches plan to table such legislations in the joint parliamentary session.

Article 70 of the Constitution spells out the procedure for their passage. It says a bill may originate in either House, and will, if it is passed by it, be transmitted to the other parliamentary chamber. If it is approved without amendment by the other House, it will be presented to the President for assent.

However, if a bill so transmitted to a House is passed with amendments it will be sent back to the House in which it originated, and if that House approved it with those amendments it will be presented to the President for assent. But if a bill so transmitted is rejected or is not passed within ninety days of its laying in the House or a bill sent to a House with amendments is not cleared by that House with such amendments, it, at the request of the House in which it originated, will be considered in a joint sitting of Parliament. If it is passed by the votes of the majority of the members present and voting in the joint sitting, it will be presented to the President for assent.

Importantly, under this provision no simple majority will be required in the joint session for the approval of such a bill, and only the “votes of the majority of the members present and voting” will be sufficient for its passage.

Generally, an out-of-house consensus is reached between the treasury and opposition benches on legislation, and consequently lawmaking in the joint session is avoided. In recent decades, no legislation has been done this way although the Constitution provides for it.



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