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Constitution of 1956

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Part 9: The Judiciary

The Constitution provided for a Supreme Court located in Karachi (the federal capital at that time), and two High Courts, one each for the provinces of East Pakistan and West Pakistan. The Supreme Court had the original jurisdiction over constitutional disputes and the President had the power to appoint its Chief Justice.


Part 9: The Judiciary

Chapter 1: The Supreme Court
Chapter 2: The High Courts

Chapter 1: The Supreme Court

Article 148

There shall be a Supreme Court of Pakistan consisting of a Chief Justice, to be known as the Chief Justice of Pakistan and not more than six other Judges; Provided that Parliament may by Act increase the number of other Judges beyond six.

Article 149

(1) The Chief Justice of Pakistan shall be appointed by the President, and the other Judges shall be appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice.

(2) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court unless he is a citizen of Pakistan, and-

(a) has been for at least five years a Judge of a High Court or two or more High Courts in succession; or

(b) has been for at least fifteen years an advocate or a pleader of a High Court, or of two or more High Courts.

(3) For the purpose of computing any such period as is referred to in sub-clause (a) of clause (2) there shall be included any period during which a person has been a Judge of a High Court in Pakistan before the Constitution Day.

(4) For the purpose of computing any such period as is referred to a person was an advocate or a pleader of a High Court in Pakistan before the Constitution Day or of any High Court in British India.

Article 150

(1) Subject to Articles 151 and 173, a Judge of the Supreme Court shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty-five years.

(2) A person who has held office as a permanent Judge of the Supreme Court shall not plead or act before any court or authority in Pakistan.

Article 151

(1) A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President made after an address by the National Assembly, supported by the majority of the total number of members of the Assembly and by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting, has been presented to the President for the removal of the Judge on the ground of proved misbehaviour or infirmity of mind or body:

Provided that no proceedings for the presentation of the address shall be initiated in the National Assembly unless notice of the motion to present the address is supported by not less than one-third of the total number of members of the Assembly.

(2) Parliament may by law prescribe the procedure for the presentation of an address and for the investigation and proof of misbehaviour or infirmity of mind or body of a Judge, and until such a law is made the President may by order prescribe the said procedure.

Article 152

If the office of Chief Justice of Pakistan becomes vacant, or if the Chief Justice is, by reason of absence or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office, those duties shall, until some person permanently appointed to the vacant office has entered on the duties thereof, or until the Chief Justice has resumed his duties, as the case may be, be performed by such one of the other Judges of the Supreme Court as the President may appoint as Acting Chief Justice.

Article 153

When any Judge of the Supreme Court is appointed to act temporarily as Chief Justice of Pakistan, or when any such Judge is unable to perform his duties on account of absence through grant of leave or for any other reason, the President may appoint a Judge of a High Court, who is qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court, to act temporarily as a Judge of that court, and the person so appointed shall be deemed to be a Judge of the Supreme Court until the President revokes the appointment.

Article 154

If at any time for want of a quorum of the Judges of the Supreme Court it is not possible to hold or continue any sittings of the Court, the Chief Justice of Pakistan may, in writing, require a Judge of a High Court qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court to attend the sittings of the Court as an ad hoc Judge for such period as may be necessary; and while so sittings such ad hoc Judge shall have the same power and jurisdiction as a Judge of the Supreme Court;

Provided that no Judge shall be so nominated by the Chief Justice of Pakistan without previous consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned.

Article 155

The Supreme Court shall sit in Karachi and at such other place as the Chief Justice of Pakistan may, with the approval of the President, from time to time appoint: Provided that the Court shall sit in Dacca at least twice in every year, for such period as the Chief Justice of Pakistan may deem necessary.

Article 156

(1) Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the Supreme Court shall, to the exclusion of any other Court, have original jurisdiction in any dispute between-

(a) the Federal Government and the Government of one or both Provinces; or

(b) the Federal Government and the Government of a Province on the one side, and the Government of the other Province on the other or

(c) the Government of the Provinces, if and is so far as the dispute involves-

(i) any question whether of law or of fact, on which the, existence or extent of a legal right depends; or

(ii) any question as to the interpretation of the Constitution.

(2) The Supreme Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction shall not pronounce any judgment other than a declaratory judgment.

Article 157

(1) An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any judgment, decree or final order of a High Court in civil, criminal or other proceedings, if the High Court certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution.

(2) Where the High Court has refused to give such a certificate, the Supreme Court may, if it is satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution, grant special leave to appeal from such judgment, decree or final order.

(3) Where such a certificate is given or such leave is granted, any party in the case may appeal to the Supreme Court on the ground that any such question as aforesaid has been wrongly decided, and with the leave of the Supreme Court, on any other ground.

Article 158

(1) An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any judgment, decree or final order of a High Court in civil proceedings-

(a) if the amount or value of the subject-matter of the dispute in the court of first instance was, and also in dispute on appeal is, not less than fifteen thousand rupees, or such other sum as may be specified in that behalf by Act of Parliament; or

(b) if the judgment, decree or final order involves directly or indirectly some claim or question respecting property of the like amount or value; or

(c) if the High Court certifies that the case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in this Article, no appeal shall, unless an Act of Parliament otherwise provides, lie to the Supreme Court from the judgment, decree or final order of a Judge of a High Court sitting alone.

Article 159

An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any judgment, final order or sentence of a High Court in criminal proceedings, if the High Court-

(a) has no appeal reversed an order of acquittal of an accused person and sentenced him to death or to transportation for life; or

(b) has withdrawn for trial before itself any case from any court subordinate to its authority, and has in such trial convicted the accused person and sentenced him as aforesaid; or Court; or

(c) certifies that the case is a fit one for appeal the Supreme Court; or

(d) has imposed any punishment on any person for contempt of the High Court: Provided that where a certificate is issued under paragraph © of this Article an appeal shall lie subject to such rules as may be made in that behalf under paragraph 3 of the Third Schedule, and to such other rules, not inconsistent with the aforesaid rules, as may be in that behalf by the High Court.

Article 160

Notwithstanding anything in this Part, the Supreme Court may grant special leave to appeal from any judgment, decree, order or sentence of any court or tribunal in Pakistan, other than a court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the Armed Forces.

Article 161

The Supreme Court shall have power, subject to the provisions of any Act of Parliament and of any rules made by the Supreme Court, to review any judgment pronounced, or order made, by it.

Article 162

If at any time it appears to the President that a question of law has arisen, or is likely to arise, which is of such a nature and of such public importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court upon it, he may refer the question to that court for consideration, and the court may, after such hearing as it thinks fit, report its opinion thereon to the President.

Article 163

(1) The law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts in Pakistan.

(2) All executive and judicial authorities throughout Pakistan shall act in aid of the Supreme Court.

(3) The Supreme Court shall have power to issue such directions, orders, decrees or writs as may be necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any such direction, order, decree or writ shall be enforceable throughout Pakistan, and shall be executed as if it had been issued by the High Court of the appropriate Province.

(4) If a question arises as to which High Court shall give effect to a direction, order, or writ of the Supreme Court, the decision of the Supreme Court hereon shall be final.

(5) The Supreme Court shall have power to issue any order for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person or the discovery or production of any document.

(6) Any order of Her Majesty-in-Council made before the Constitution Day on an appeal or petition shall be enforceable as if it were an order issued by the Supreme Court.

Article 164

In this part, references to any substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution shall include references to any substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Government of India Act, 1935, or the Indian Independence Act, 1947, including any enactment amending or supplementing the said Acts or any Order made under the said Acts.

Chapter 2: The High Courts

Article 165

(1) There shall be a High Court for each Province.

(2) The High Court for the Provinces of East Bengal and West Pakistan functioning immediately before the Constitution Day shall be deemed to be High Court, under the Constitution, for the Provinces or East Pakistan and West Pakistan, respectively.

(3) A High Court shall consist of a Chief Justice and such number of other Judges as the President may determine.

Article 166

(1) Every Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President, after consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the Governor of the Province to which the appointment relates, and if the appointment is not that of the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the High Court of that Province.

(2) Subject to Articles 169 and 173, a Judge of a High Court shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty years.

(3) A person who has held office as a permanent Judge of a High Court shall not plead or act before that court or any court or authority within its jurisdiction.

Article 167

(1) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judge of a High Court unless he is a citizen of Pakistan and-

(a) has been for at least ten years, an advocate or a pleader of a High Court, or of two more High Courts; or

(b) is a member of the Civil Service of Pakistan of at least ten years' standing, who has for at least three years served as, or exercised the powers, of, a District Judge; or

(c) has for at least ten years held a Judicial office in Pakistan: Provided that a person shall not be qualified for appointment as a permanent Chief Justice of a High Court unless-

(i) he is, or when first appointed to a Judicial office, was, an advocate or a pleader in a High Court; or

(ii) he has served for not less than three years as a Judge of a High Court in Pakistan;

Provided further that a person who was immediately before the Constitution Day a Judge of a High Court shall not be disqualified from continuing as such on the ground only that he is not a citizen of Pakistan.

(2) For the purpose of computing any period referred to in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) there shall be included-

(a) any period during which a person has held Judicial office after he became an advocate or a pleader; and

(b) any period during which a person was an advocate or a pleader of a High Court in British India.

(3) For the purpose of computing any period referred to in sub clause (c) of clause (1) there shall be included any period during which a person held Judicial Office in British India.

Article 168

(1) If the office of the Chief Justice of a High Court becomes vacant, or if any such Chief Justice is, by reason of absence or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office, those duties shall, until some person permanently appointed to the vacant office has entered on the duties thereof, or until the Chief Justice has resumed his duties, as the case may be, be performed by such one of the other Judge of the Court the President may appoint as acting Chief Justice.

(2) If the office of any other Judge of a High Court becomes vacant, or if any such Judge is appointed to act temporarily as a Chief Justice or is by reason of absence, or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office, the President may appoint a person qualified for appointment as a Judge of a High Court to act as a Judge of that Court, and the person so appointed shall unless the President revokes his appointment, be deemed to be a Judge of that Court, until some person permanently appointed to the vacant office has entered on the duties thereof, or until the permanent Judge has resumed his duties.

Article 169

A Judge of a High Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President made on the ground of misbehaviour or infirmity of mind or body, if the Supreme Court on reference being made to it by the President, reports that the Judge ought to be removed on any of those grounds.

Article 170

Notwithstanding anything in Article 22, each High Court shall have power, throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction, to issue to any person or authority, including in appropriate cases any Government, directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, for the enforcement of any of the right conferred by Part II and for any other purpose.

Article 171

If a High Court is satisfied that a case pending in a court subordinate to it involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution, the determination of which is necessary for the disposal of the case, it shall withdraw the case from that court and may-

(a) either dispose of the case itself; or

(b) determine the said question of law, and return the case to the court from which the case has been so withdrawn, together with a copy of its judgment on such question, and the said court shall, on receipt thereof, proceed to dispose of the case in conformity with such judgement.

Article 172

(1) The President may transfer a Judge of a High Court from one High Court to the other High Court, but no such Judge shall be transferred except with his consent and after consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the Chief Justice of the High Court of which he is a Judge.

(2) When a Judge is so transferred, he shall during the period for which he serves as a Judge of the High Court to which he has been transferred, be entitled to such compensatory allowance, in addition to his salary, as the President may by order determine.

Chapter 3: General Provisions As To The Supreme Court And High Courts.

Article 173

A Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court may resign his office by writing under his hand addressed to the President.

Article 174

A person who is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court, shall not be eligible for appointment as Governor of a Province.

Article 175

(1) The remuneration and other conditions of service of a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court shall not be varied to his disadvantage during his tenure of office.

(2) Subject to Article 151, the conduct of a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a Judge of a High Court shall not be discussed in the National or a Provincial Assembly.

Article 176

The Supreme Court and each High Court shall be a court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court, including the power to make any order for the investigation or punishment of any contempt of itself.

Article 177

Unit other provisions in that behalf are made by Act the provisions of the Third Schedule shall apply in relation to the Supreme Court and High Courts in respect of matters specified therein.

Article 178

Notwithstanding anything in the Constitution, neither the Supreme Court nor a High Court shall, unless Parliament by law otherwise provides, exercise any jurisdiction under the Constitution in relation to the Special Areas.

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Source: Documents and Speeches on the Constitution of Pakistan
By G. W. Choudhury (1967). Green Book House, Dacca (East Pakistan)


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