Rules Relating to Committees

RULES OF PROCEDURE AND CONDUCT OF BUSINESS IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY 2007

CHAPTER XX

COMMITTEES

PART-I

STANDING COMMITTEES AND GENERAL PROVISIONS

REGARDING STANDING COMMITTEES

198.    Committees of the Assembly.- (1) In addition to the Standing Committees on Public Accounts, Rules of procedure and privileges, House and Library, Government Assurances and Business Advisory, there shall be a Standing Committee of the Assembly for each Ministry of the Government.

Explanation.- For the purposes of this Chapter, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Prime Minister's Secretariat shall be deemed to be a Ministry.

(2)    Each Committee shall deal with the subjects assigned, under the rules for the allocation and transaction of business of the Government to the Division or the Ministry with which it is concerned or any other matter referred to it by the Assembly:

Provided that any subject not so assigned or the subjects assigned to any Ministry for which a Standing Committee has not been constituted shall be dealt with by the Standing Committee
dealing with Ministry of Law and Justice.

(3)    Whenever there is any change in the composition of Ministries or their nomenclature, the Speaker shall, in consultation with Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and the Minister concerned, issue suitable directions in regard to the re-allocation of the existing Standing Committees or, as the case may be, the modification in their nomenclature and election of the new Standing Committees.

199.    Reference to Standing Committee.- Except as otherwise provided in these rules, the Assembly or the Speaker may remit to the Standing Committee any subject or matter with which it is concerned and the Standing Committee shall study such subject or matter with a view to suggest legislation or making recommendations to the Assembly.
   
200.    Composition.- (1) Except as otherwise provided in these rules, each Committee shall consist of not more than twenty members to be elected by the Assembly within thirty days after the election of the Leader of the House:

(2)    The Minister concerned shall be an ex-officio member of the Committee:

Provided that the Minister shall not be entitled to vote as an ex-officio member unless he is a member of the Assembly:

Provided further that, in the case of Ministry which is in the charge of the Prime Minister or for which no Minister has been appointed, the concerned Minister of State, if any, shall be its ex-officio member and, where there is no Minister of State also, the Minister or Minister of State to whom the subject or matter referred to the Committee is assigned shall act as its ex-officio member and in the absence of such assignment the Minister for Law and Justice shall act as ex-officio member of the Committee.

(3)    The member-in-charge other than a Minister, or a member on whose motion any subject or matter was referred to the Standing Committee may attend the meetings of the Committee but shall not vote unless he is a member of the Committee.

(4)    The Secretary of the Ministry or Division concerned or an officer not less than the rank of a Joint Secretary, designated in this behalf and the Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, or his nominee not lower in rank of a Joint Secretary may attend the meeting of the Committee.

201.    Functions.- (1) A Committee shall examine a Bill, subject or matter referred to it by the Assembly or the Speaker and shall submit its report to the Assembly or to the Speaker, as the case may be, with such recommendations including suggestions for legislation, if any, as it may deem necessary. In the case of a Bill, the Committee shall also examine whether the Bill violates, disregards or is otherwise not in accordance with the Constitution.

(2)    The Committee may propose amendments which shall be shown in its report along with original provisions of the Bill:

Provided that the Committee shall have no power of preventing the Bill from being considered by the Assembly.

(3)    If a Committee does not present its report within the prescribed period, or the time allowed, the Assembly may consider the Bill, subject or matter referred to it, without waiting for the report upon a motion by any member or by the Minister concerned and such Bill, subject or matter shall be treated as withdrawn from the Committee.

(4)    A Committee may examine the expenditures, administration, delegated legislation, public petitions and policies of the Ministry concerned and its associated public bodies and may forward its report of findings and recommendations to the Ministry and the Ministry shall submit its reply to the Committee.

(5)    Public petitions may be presented on a Bill which has been introduced, or any matter connected with the business pending before the House, or any matter of general public interest which is primarily the concern of the Government, provided that it is not one which falls within the cognizance of a court, nor shall it relate to a matter pending before any court or other authority performing judicial or quasi-judicial functions.

(6)    Each Standing Committee shall scrutinize and suggest amendments, if necessary, and recommend Ministry’s Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the next financial year before the same is sent to the Ministry of Finance for inclusion in the Federal Budget for the next financial year. Each Ministry shall submit its budgetary proposals relating to the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the next financial year to the relevant Standing Committee not later than the 31st January of preceding financial year and Standing Committee shall make recommendations thereon not later than the 1st March of preceding financial year:

Provided that where such recommendations are not made by the 1st March, the same shall be deemed to have been endorsed by the Standing Committee.

(7) Within thirty days of the recommendations of the Standing Committee on PSDP, the Ministry concerned shall submit to the Committee its report-

        (a)    of inclusion of the recommendations in the Federal Budget for the next Financial year; or
        (b)    showing reason of non-inclusion of the recommendations in the Federal Budget.

GENERAL PROVISIONS REGARDING STANDING COMMITTEES

214.    Membership of Committees.- A member may be a member of more than one Standing Committee at the same time.

215.    Appointment of Standing Committees by the Speaker.- For the period till elections to the Standing Committees are held, the Speaker may appoint the Standing Committees and may nominate their Chairmen.

216.    Chairman of a Committee.- (1) The Chairman of each Committee shall be elected by the Committee from amongst its members within thirty days after the election of the Committee and the Secretary shall cause the notification to be published in the Gazette:

Provided that a Minister shall not be elected as its Chairman:

Provided further that if the Chairman is appointed as Minister or, Parliamentary Secretary, he shall cease to be the Chairman.

(2)    If the Chairman is not present at any sitting, the Committee shall choose one of its members present to act as Chairman for that sitting.

217.    Quorum of a meeting.- The quorum to constitute a sitting of a Committee shall be one fourth of the total membership of the Committee.

218.    Resignation of members from a Committee.- A member may resign his membership of a Committee by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker.

219.    Casual vacancies.- (1) Casual vacancies in a Committee shall be filled, as soon as possible after such vacancies occur, by election.

(2)    Subject to the requirement of a quorum, a Committee shall have power to act notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership.

220.    Adjournment, etc., of Committee.- (1) If, at the time fixed for any sitting of a Committee or at any time during any such sitting, the number of members present is less than the quorum, the Chairman of the Committee shall either suspend the sitting for a time not exceeding one hour or adjourn the sitting.

(2)    After the suspension of sitting for an hour if the quorum is not complete, the meeting shall be adjourned.

221.    Discharge of members absent from sittings of Committee.- If a member is absent from three or more consecutive sittings of a Committee without the permission of its Chairman, motion may be moved by any member in the Assembly for the discharge of such member from the Committee.

222.    Voting in Committee.- All questions at a sitting of a Committee shall be determined by a majority of the members present and voting.

223.    Casting vote of Chairman.- The Chairman of a Committee or the Chairperson in his absence, shall, in the event of the equality of votes, have a casting vote.

224.    Power to appoint Sub-Committees.- (1) A Committee may appoint at a time not more than one sub-committee. Each such Sub-Committee shall consist of not exceeding four members and shall have powers of the whole Committee to examine any matter that may be referred to it:

Provided that the Chairman of a Committee concerned shall not be Convener of a Sub-Committee.

(2)    The order of reference to a Sub-Committee shall clearly state the point or points for investigation. The report of the sub-committee shall be presented not later than thirty days and be deemed to be the report of the Committee when approved by the whole Committee:

Provided that the Sub-Committee shall stand dissolved on expiration of thirty days from its appointment irrespective of presentation of the report.

(3)    the provisions of sub-rules (1) and (2) relating to the term and number of members and Sub-Committees shall not be applicable to the Public Accounts Committee.

225.    Sittings of Committees.- (1) A Committee shall sit on such day and at such hour as the Chairman may, in consultation with the Secretary fix:

Provided that the Secretary in consultation with the Speaker shall fix the meeting of a Committee for election of its Chairman.

(2)    The sittings of a Committee shall ordinarily be held within the precincts of the Assembly.

(3)    If a Committee is sitting while the Assembly is also sitting, the Chairman of the Committee shall, if a division is being called in the Assembly, suspend the proceedings of the Committee for such time as will, in his opinion, enable the members to vote in the division.

(4)    Subject to sub-rule (1), on a requisition made by not less than one fourth of the total membership of the Committee, the Chairman of the Committee shall call a meeting of the Committee within fourteen days from the date of the requisition.

(5)    If a notice of requisition for the meeting of a Committee is received when the Chairman is unable to convene the meeting of the Committee, it shall be submitted to the Speaker who may order to call the meeting of the Committee.

226.    Meetings in camera.- The sittings of a Committee may be held in camera if so determined by the Committee.

227.    Powers to take evidence or call for papers, records or documents.- (1) A Committee shall have power to require the attendance of persons or the production of papers or records if such course is considered necessary for the discharge of its duties:

Provided that if any question arises whether the evidence of a person or the production of a document is relevant for the purposes of the Committee, the question shall be referred to the Speaker whose decision shall be final:

Provided further that Government may decline to produce a document on the ground that its disclosure would be prejudicial to the defence, security or external relations of Pakistan, and, if the question arises whether the disclosure of a document would be prejudicial as aforesaid, the question shall be referred to the Speaker who shall, after perusing the document, decide whether or not the document should be produced before the Committee.

(2)    Subject to the provisions of this rule, a witness may be summoned by an order signed by the Secretary and shall appear before the Committee and produce such documents as are required for the use of the Committee.

(3)    A Committee may invite or summon or allow to appear before the Committee any member or any other person having a special interest in relation to any matter under its consideration and may hear expert evidence and hold public hearing.

(4)    Subject to clause (3) of Article 66, a Committee shall have powers vested in civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908) for enforcing the attendance of any person and compelling the production of documents.

228.    Evidence on oath.- (1) A Committee may administer oath or affirmation to a witness examined before it.

(2)    The form of the oath or affirmation shall be as follows:

'I A.B., swear in the name of ALLAH/solemnly affirm, that the evidence which I shall give in this case shall be true, that I will conceal nothing, and that no part of my evidence shall be false'.

229.    Examination of witnesses.- The examination of witness before a Committee shall be conducted as follows:-

(a)    The Committee shall, before a witness is called for examination, decide the mode of procedure and the nature of questions that may be asked of the witness.

(b)    the Chairman of the Committee may first ask the witness such question or questions as he may consider necessary with reference to the subject matter under consideration or any subject connected therewith according to the mode of procedure mentioned in clause (a) of this rule.

(c)    the Chairman may call other members of the Committee one by one to ask any other questions.

(d)    a witness may be asked to place before the Committee any other relevant points that have not been covered and which a witness thinks are essential to be placed before the Committee.

(e)    a verbatim record of proceedings of the Committee shall, when a witness is summoned to give evidence, be kept.

(f)    the evidence given before the Committee may be made available to all members of the Committee.

230.    Evidence or information to be kept confidential or secret.- Any evidence produced or information tendered before a Committee shall be treated as confidential or secret, unless the Committee, in the public interest decides otherwise.

231.    Request for views of Ministries or Divisions on Private Members' Bills.- In case of Private Member's Bill, the Secretary shall transmit a copy thereof to the Ministry or Division concerned with a request to furnish its views on the Bill for consideration by the Committee.

232.    Record of proceedings of Committees.- A summary of the record of the proceedings of each Committee shall be maintained by the Secretary.

233.    Restriction on publications etc. of proceedings.- (1) A Committee may direct that the whole or any part of its proceedings or a summary thereof may be laid on the Table.

(2)    The report of a Committee required to be presented before the Assembly and which has not been presented to the Assembly or the proceedings of a Committee or any part or summary thereof which has not been laid on the Table shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open to inspection except with the permission of the Committee:

(3)    The Speaker may direct that any part of the proceedings may be communicated to the members of the Assembly confidentially before it is laid on the Table.

(4)    A Committee may, with the permission of the Speaker, make available to Government its report or a part thereof before presentation to the Assembly and such report or part shall be treated as confidential by Government until presented to the Assembly.

234.    Special reports.- A Committee may, if it thinks fit, make a special report on any matter that arises or comes to light in the course of its work which it may consider necessary to bring to the notice of the Speaker or the Assembly.

234-A Submission of Periodical Report.- Each Committee shall submit report of its performance to the National Assembly after every six months.

235.    Reports of Committees.- (1) Where the Assembly has not fixed any time for the presentation of a report, the report of a Committee shall be presented within thirty days from the date on which reference was made to it by the Assembly, unless the Assembly, on a motion being made, directs that the time for presentation of the report be extended to a date specified in the motion:

Provided that in reckoning the period, the days when the Assembly is not in Session shall be excluded.

(2)    Reports may be either preliminary or final.

(3)    The report shall,-

(a)    incorporate the views, if any, of the Minister concerned with the matter;

(b)    set forth the recommendations of the Committee together with the minutes of dissent, if any; and

(c)    be signed by the Chairman on behalf of the Committee or, if the Chairman is absent or not readily available, by another member chosen by the Committee.

(4) The Secretary shall cause a copy of every report of a Committee together with minutes of dissent, if any, to be made available for the use of every member of the Assembly. The report shall, if it relates to a Bill, be published in the Gazette together with the views of the minority, if any.

236.    Presentation of report.- (1) The report of a Committee required to be presented to the Assembly shall be presented by the Chairman or, in his absence, by another member of the Committee authorized by the Chairman in this behalf.

(2)    In presenting the report, the Chairman or in his absence the member presenting the report shall, if he makes any remarks, confine himself to a brief statement of facts, but there shall be no debate on that statement at this stage.

237.    Discussion on reports.- (1) Save as otherwise provided by these rules, after a report has been presented to the Assembly, the Chairman or any member of the Committee or any other member may move that the report be taken into consideration whereupon the Speaker may put the question to the House.

(2)    Before putting the question to the House, the Speaker may permit a debate on the motion, not exceeding half an hour in duration, and such debate shall not refer to the details of the report further than is necessary to make out a case for the consideration of the report by the House.

(3)    After the motion made under sub-rule (1) is carried the Speaker may allot one or more days for discussion on the report.

238.    Printing, publication or circulation of report before its presentation to the Assembly.- The Speaker may, on a request being made to him when the Assembly is not in session, order the printing, publication or circulation of a report of a Committee, although it has not been presented to the Assembly. In that case the report shall be presented to the Assembly during its next session at the first convenient opportunity.

239.    Agenda and notices of meetings of Committees.- (1) The time table of business of a Committee and the agenda for each meeting of the Committee shall be determined by the Chairman in consultation with the Minister concerned.

(2)    Notices of all meetings of a Committee shall be sent to the members of the Committee and to the Attorney General for Pakistan and the official concerned.

240.    Supplementary rules.- A Committee may, with the approval of the Speaker, make supplementary rules of its procedure not inconsistent with these rules.

241.    Application of general rules of the Assembly.- Subject to the rules in this Chapter and the supplementary rules of the Committee, if any, the general rules of the Assembly shall apply to the proceedings in each Committee.

242.    Removal of doubt and interpretation of rules.- If any doubt arises on any point of procedure or interpretation of these rules in this Chapter, the Chairman may refer the point to the Speaker whose decision shall be final thereon.

243.    Business before Committees not to lapse on prorogation.- Any business pending before a Committee shall not lapse by reason only of the prorogation of the Assembly and the Committee shall continue to function notwithstanding such prorogation.

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Last Updated On: 9th September 2021, 02:05 PM