ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice while deliberating on the amendment of Article 84 in the Constitution Amendment Bill of 2023, called for a presentation on supplementary grants over the last 10 years.

The committee meeting convened on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Senator Barrister Syed Ali Zafar expressed the view that supplementary budgetary allocations should require prior approval from the National Assembly before expenditure.

Senator Zafar, while deliberating on the amendment of Article 84 in the Constitution Amendment Bill of 2023 introduced by Senator Sania Nishtar, directed the finance secretary to provide a briefing on the definition of emergency approval. He also sought a comparison report between emergency approval and complete approval in terms of the supplementary budget statement.

After thorough deliberations on the amendment to Article 84 introduced by Senator Nishtar, the Committee called for a presentation on supplementary grants over the last 10 years. The committee expressed the view that supplementary budgetary allocations should require prior approval from the National Assembly before expenditure.

The committee; however, passed the amendment, emphasising transparency and evidence in budgetary expenditure.

Additionally, the committee approved the Constitution (Amendment) Bill of 2023, focusing on the substitution of Article 140A after modifications discussed in the meeting. This amendment aims to expand the powers of local government and compels the National Finance Commission to ensure direct funding to the local government bodies, allocating funds according to exigencies.

Furthermore, the committee disposed of the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill of 2023, introduced by Ahmed Irfan Aslam, the Minister for Law and Justice, with amendments in presumptions against accused individuals accepting illegal gratification.

Senator Zafar disapproved of the amendments, emphasizing the critical nature of free-standing presumptions for offences punishable under this ordinance.

The matter raised by Senator Gurdeep Singh regarding qualifications, experience, privileges, benefits, and budgetary allocation of the Tribunals was also disposed of, with a directive to submit a brief on the same.

In attendance were senators, Farooq Hamid Naek, Kamran Murtaza, Sania Nishtar, and Gurdeep Singh. Caretaker Federal Minister for Law and Justice Ahmad Irfan Aslam, Secretary for Law and Justice Raja Naeem Akbar, and other senior officials of relevant departments were also in attendance.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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