- Says further amendments to accountability laws without reviewing effects of a pending matter should be looked at once again
President Dr Arif Alvi on Sunday returned the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2023 to Parliament, saying that previous amendments to the accountability laws were under judicial consideration.
“The president sent back the bill to Parliament under Article 75 (president’s assent to bills) of the Constitution,” the President’s Office said in a Twitter post.
The president asserted that further amendments to the accountability laws “without reviewing the effects of a pending matter should be reviewed once again”.
Earlier this month, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice passed the National Accountability (Amendment) Act, 2023, seeking to remove the legal complication in the transfer of cases from the Accountability Court to the relevant forums which do not fall within the jurisdiction of the NAB Ordinance.
The committee which met with MNA Mehmood Bashir Virk in the chair passed the bill unanimously. According to objects and reasons of the bill, owing to recent amendments made in the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, hereinafter called the NAB ordinance, through the National Accountability (Amendment) Act 2023 and the National Accountability (second amendment) Act 2022 some legal complications have arisen for transfer of those cases from the Accountability Courts to other courts, tribunals and forums, which do not fall within the domain or jurisdiction of NAB ordinance.
Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan said that the bill has provided a methodology for the transfer of cases from Accountability Courts to another forum that did not fall under the NAB law. Under the amendment, in the absence of the chairman NAB then deputy chairman NAB will work as chairman, he said.
The National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2023 sought amendments to several sections of the NAB Ordinance.
An amendment to section 4 of the NAB law states: “If the chairman is satisfied that no case is made out against an accused and the investigation may be closed, he shall refer the matter to the Court for approval and for the release of the accused, if in custody.
“Where the chairman is of the opinion that prima facie case is made out against an accused under any other law for the time being in force, he shall refer the matter to the relevant agency, authority or department, as the case may be,” it further states.