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This act was passed by the Constituent Assembly in the wake of the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case, which was the first known attempt at replacing democracy with military dictatorship in Pakistan.

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Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case, 1951

 


Rawalpindi Conspiracy (Special Tribunal) Act, 1951

An Act to provide/or the setting-up of the Special Tribunal to try Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case and other matters connected therewith

Gazette, 28th April 1951

The Act of Constituent Assembly, passed on the 16th April 1951, is hereby published under the authority of the President of the Constituent Assembly.

Whereas it is expedient to provide for the setting up of a Special Tribunal to try the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case and other matters con­nected therewith;

It is hereby enacted as follows:-

1. Short title and commencement. — (1) This Act may be called the Rawalpindi Conspiracy (Special Tribunal) Act, 1951.

(2) It extends to the whole of Pakistan.

(3) It shall come into force at once.

2. Special Tribunal. — (1) For the trial of the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case (hereinafter referred to as "the said case") the Central Government shall by notification set up a Special Tribunal, composed of three persons, each of whom is a Judge of the Federal Court or a High Court, and shall nominate one of the said persons to be the President of the Special Tribunal.

Explanation. — The expression 'Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case' means any case which may be placed before the Special Tribunal by the Central Government under subsection (2) of section 3, and which arises out of the reasonable conspiracy unearthed in February-March 1951.

(2) If through death, illness or any other case, a member of the Special Tribunal is unable to continue to sit thereon, the Central Govern­ment may, by notification, declare that he has vacated his office as such member, and may appoint thereto, another person who is a Judge of the Federal Court or a High Court:

Provided that the Special Tribunal shall not, merely by reason of any change in its membership, be bound to recall and rehear any witness who has given evidence prior to such change, and it may act on the evidence already given or produced before it.

(3) In the event of any difference of opinion among the mem­bers of the Special Tribunal, the view of the majority shall prevail, and the order or judgment shall be expressed in terms of the view of the majority.

3. Commencement of proceedings. — (1) No Court in Pakistan, other than the Special Tribunal, shall take cognizance of the said case.

(2) As soon as may be after the constitution of the Special Tribunal, the Central Government shall take steps to forward to the Spe­cial Tribunal, a statement of the said case on behalf of the prosecution, together with a list of formal charges of offences alleged to have been committed by each of the accused persons reciting the law under which each such offence is punishable, and a list of witnesses whom it is intended to produce in support of each charge. The said formal charges shall be deemed to be the charges in the trial for the purposes of section 271, Code of Criminal procedure, 1898.

Note. — The submission of a list of witnesses under this subsec­tion shall not preclude the Central Government or the prosecution from submitting additional names of witnesses at any subsequent stage of the prosecution evidence in the case.

4. Powers and Procedure of Special Tribunal. — (1) The Special Tribunal shall have in relation to the proceedings in the said case all the powers of a High Court in relation to criminal trials including the power of punishing for contempts and shall follow in all respects the procedure provided for trials before High Courts in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, except as hereinafter provided, namely:-

(a) the trial shall be without a jury, and the relevant sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, shall be read as if all references to a jury or jurymen, and all references to commitment proceedings or any statements or documents made or prepared in the course of commitment proceedings, had been excluded therefrom;

(b) section 297 of the said Code shall be read as if it required the Special Tribunal, upon the case for the defence and the prosecutor's reply (if any) being concluded, to proceed, with all reasonable speed, to pronounce its judgment;

(c) the proceedings of the Court shall be recorded in English under the direct supervision of the Special Tribunal, and one of the mem­bers thereof shall make a memorandum of the substance of the evidence of each witness as the examination proceeds:

Provided that, by direction of the Special Tribunal, the evidence of any witness may be taken down in shorthand or typescript by a person specially appointed for the purpose, and the transcript of the shorthand or typescript, duly corrected, shall be placed on the record; and

(d) all orders and proceedings, and the evidence of each witness shall be signed by at least two members of the Special Tribunal, and the final judgment shall be signed by each of the three members.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (1), the Special Tribunal shall not admit any of the accused persons in the said case to bail.

5. Jurisdiction of Special Tribunal. — (1) The Special Tribu­nal shall have jurisdiction to try any offence by any of the accused persons, which is mentioned in the list of formal charges, wherever it may have been committed, including offences under the Army Act, 1881, or the Army Act, 1911, and under any law for the time being in force, notwithstanding that any such offence is declared by the relevant law to be triable only by courtmartial, or other tribunal and not by the ordinary Criminal Courts, or is declared to be triable only by a special procedure.

(2) Conviction of accused person of offence not charged. — (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Proce­dure, 1898 or any other law, the Special Tribunal may convict any of the accused persons of any offence under any law in force at the time of the commission of such offence, if it appears in evidence that he committed, such offence, although he was not charged with it, and whether or not such offence is a minor offence composed of certain particulars com­prised in one or more of the offences charged.

(3) Separation of trial of any charge. — The Special Tribunal may, at any time, if it deems fit to do so in the interest of justice, and to avoid prejudice to any of the accused persons, separate the trial of any charge or charges, against one or more of the accused persons, from the trial of the remaining charges and the trial of any charge so separated shall be deemed to be a part of the trial of the said case.

(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (2) of section 2, Army Act, 1911, any of the accused persons who was subject to that Act at the time of the commission of any offence under that Act which is charged against him and is included in the list of formal charges, shall be deemed for all the purposes of this Act, to be subject to the Army Act, 1911.

(5) For the purposes of this section, the expression 'offence' shall include the abetment thereof by any of the accused persons.

6. Place of sitting. — (1) The Special Tribunal shall hold its sittings at such place or places as the Central Government may appoint.

(2) Public not to be admitted. — The proceedings of the Special Tribunal shall not be-open to the public.

(3) Application of section 5, Official Secrets Act, 1923. — Every person who being in possession of any document or information con­cerning the proceedings in the said case before the Special Tribunal by virtue of participation therein, whether as a witness or as an officer of the Court, or otherwise howsoever, discloses such document or information to-any person other than a person who is officially connected with the preparation or conduct of the said case, shall be deemed to be guilty of an offence under section 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923.

Exception. — The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any communication between any accused person and his counsel, which is made bonafide for the purposes of the defence of such accused person in the case.

7. Restriction of adjournments. — No trial before the Special Tribunal shall be adjourned for any purpose unless the Special Tribunal is of opinion that the adjournment is in the interests of justice, and in particular, no trial shall be adjourned by reason of the absence of any accused person, if such accused person is represented by Counsel, or if the absence of the accused person or his Counsel has been brought about by the accused person himself, or if the behaviour of the accused person, prior to such absence has been, in the opinion of the Special Tribunal, such as to impede the course of justice but in any such case, the Special Tribunal shall proceed with the trial after taking necessary steps to appoint an advocate to defend any accused person who is not represented by counsel.

8. Special Rules of evidence. — (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Evidence Act, 1872, the Special Tribunal may receive in evidence, for such purposes as it may deem fit, any statement recorded by a Magistrate made by any person who, at the time of the trial, is dead, or whose attendance cannot be procured without an amount of delay or expense which is unreasonable in the circumstances.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Evidence Act, 1872, or in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, the Special Tribunal may receive in evidence, for such purposes as it may think fit, any state­ment recorded in the course of the investigation of the said case by a Police Officer, made by any person who is examined at the trial whether as a witness or as an accused person.

9. Sentence which Special Tribunal may pass. — The Special Tribunal may pass upon any of the accused persons, any sentence which is authorised by law.

10. Bar of appeal and revisions. — (1) No order, judgment or sentence of the Special Tribunal shall be called in question in appeal or revision or otherwise howsoever in any Court, and no Court shall enter­tain any plea as to the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal, or as to the legality or propriety of anything done or purporting to be done by the Special Tribunal.

(2) No Court shall have power to order the release of any accused person in the said case under section 491, Criminal Procedure Code, or any other provision of law, for so long as the Special Tribunal is seized of the said case.

11. Provision as to pardons, reprieves, etc. — The provisions of Chapter XXIX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, shall not apply to sentences awarded by the Special Tribunal, but nothing in this section shall be deemed to interfere with the right of the Governor-General, under the powers delegated to him by His Majesty to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions, in respect of persons convicted and sentenced by the Special Tribunal.

12. Provision of Counsel for undefended accused persons. — The Special Tribunal may, at any stage of the case, direct that an advo­cate, to be selected by the Special Tribunal shall be engaged, at the expense of the Central Government, to defend any accused person who is not represented by Counsel, and may also determine the fees to be paid to such advocate.

RAWALPINDI CONSPIRACY (SPECIAL TRIBUNAL) (AMENDMENT) ACT, 1952

An Act to amend the Rawalpindi Conspiracy (Special Tribunal) Act, 1951

This Act of the Constituent Assembly was passed on the 22nd day of November, 1952 and was published in the Gazette, dated 27th No­vember, 1952 under the authority of the President of the Constituent As­sembly.

Whereas it is expedient to amend the Rawalpindi Conspiracy (Special Tribunal) Act, 1951, for the purposes hereinafter appearing;

It is hereby enacted as follow s:-

1. Short title. —This Act may be called the Rawalpindi (Special Tribunal) (Amendment) Act, 1952.

2. Amendment of section 6, Rawalpindi Conspiracy (Special Tribunal) Act, 1951. — To section 6 of the Rawalpindi Conspiracy (Special Tribunal) Act, 1951, after the Exception, the following new subsections shall be added, namely:

"(4) The proceedings referred to in this section include any order, judgment and sentence of the Special Tribunal, but nothing in this section shall prevent the Central Government from publishing the whole or any part of any such order, judgment or sentence, if it deems fit to do so.

(5) The Tribunal shall not give a copy of any order, judgment or sentence to any accused person whom it concerns, but shall show him and his lawyer the same and permit him and his lawyer to make such memorandum thereof as he and his lawyer may require in order to draw up a petition seeking the exercise of the powers mentioned in section II."


Source: The Times and Trial of the Rawalpindi Conspiracy 1951.
Oxford University Press (Karachi) 1998.


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