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World

Web Desk
July 31, 2009

What is Article 270-AAA?

World

Web Desk
Fri, Jul 31, 2009
ISLAMABAD: All eyes are set on the fate of Article 270AAA, ìinsertedî in the Constitution, that provided a dubious constitutional cover to Nov 3, 2007 proclamation of emergency, Provisional Constitutional Order and suspension of the Constitution by Pervez Musharraf, as the Supreme Court reaches the concluding stage of evaluating the constitutionality of the strike of the then chief of the army.

After every martial law was lifted and democracy restored with coming in place of a new parliament, a similar new article was added to the Constitution to give constitutional cover to all the acts including even the imposition of the military rule.

The 1985 parliament inserted Article 270A in the Constitution while the 2002 legislature Article 270AA. This time, there was addition of another A to the same provision but it is being reviewed before it has been validated by parliament. The parliament of the time had approved addition of Articles 270A and 270AA.

Every time, the government of the dayís argument has been that whatever constitutional amendments the martial law administrators did have taken place and have been carried out and parliament can only make changes in them. On the contrary the opposition has been arguing that these amendments could not be considered to have been inserted in the Constitution and it was only parliament that can amend the basic document.

It may be instructive to reproduce Article 270AAA: Addition of Article 270AAA to the Constitution.- In the Constitution, after Article 270AA, the following new Article shall be added, namely:- ì270AAA. Validation and affirmation of laws etc.-

(1) The proclamation of Emergency of 3rd November, 2007, all Presidentís Orders, Ordinances, Chief of Army Staff Orders, including the Provisional Constitution order No.1 2007, the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2007, the amendments made in the constitution through the Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007 and all other laws made

between the 3rd day of November, 2007 and the date on which the Proclamation of Emergency of the 3rd Day of November, 2007, is revoked (both days inclusive), are accordingly affirmed, adopted and declared to have been validly made by the competent authority and notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution shall not be called in question in any court or forum on any ground whatsoever.

(2) All orders made, proceedings taken, appointments made, including secondments and deputations, and acts done by any authority, or by any person, which were made, taken or done, or purported to have been made, taken or done, on or after the 3rd day of November, 2007 in exercise of the powers derived from any Proclamation, Provisional Constitution Order No. 1 of 2007, Presidentís orders, ordinances, enactments, including amendments in the Constitution, notifications, rules, orders, bye-laws, or in execution of or in compliance with any orders made or sentences passed by any authority in the exercise or purported exercise of powers as aforesaid, shall, notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution or any judgment of any court, be deemed to be and always to have been validly made, taken or done and shall not be called in question in any court or forum on any ground whatsoever.

(3) All proclamations, Presidentís orders, ordinances, Chief of Army Staff Orders, laws, regulations, enactments, including amendments in the Constitution, notifications, rules, orders or bye-laws in force immediately before the date on which the Proclamation of Emergency of the 3rd day of November, 2007 is revoked, shall continue in force until altered, repealed or amended by the competent authority.

Explanation.- In this clause, ìcompetent authorityî means,-

(a) in respect of Presidentís orders, ordinances, Chief of Army Staff Orders and enactments, including amendments in the Constitution, the appropriate Legislature; and

(b) in respect of notifications, rules, orders and bye-laws, the authority in which the power to make, alter, repeal or amend the same vests under the law.

(4) No prosecution or any other legal proceedings, including but not limited to suits, constitutional petitions or complaints, shall, notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution or any other law for the time being in force, lie in any court, forum or authority against any person or authority on account of or in respect of issuance of the legal instruments referred to in clause (1) and on account of or in respect of any action taken by the Chief of Army Staff, the President or any other in exercise or purported exercise of the powers referred to in clause (2).

(5) For purpose of clauses (1), (2) and (4) all orders made, proceeding taken, appointments made, including secondments and deputation, acts done or purporting to be made, taken or done by any authority or person shall be deemed to have been made, taken in good faith and for the purpose intended to be served thereby.