ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly passed Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Bill, 2016 moved by minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid.
The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says, the existing law relating to appointment of Commissions of Inquiry and empowering them for the purpose in the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1956.
The Act has been invoked for setting up fact-finding Commissions on a number of important national issues in the past. However on some matters the need has been perceived for a Commission with greater powers than those that can be conferred under the Act.
The federal government shall by notification constitute a Commission of Inquiry in accordance with provision of the Act.
“It is desirable that new law be enacted enabling the government to confer additional powers on a Commission of Inquiry where the nature of the issue is being inquired into so requires,” it said.
The existing law relating to appointment of Commissions of Inquiry and empower them for the purpose is the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act, 1956.
The Commission under the proposed law shall conduct the inquiry and perform its functions in accordance with the terms of reference given in the notification.
The Commission shall have powers of summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath and requiring the discovery and production of any documents.
The Commission shall have the powers to order police investigation and shall have the same powers as that of a high court to punish any person who abuses, interferes with or obstructs the process of commission any way or disobeys any order of the commission.
The commission can also initiate contempt of court proceedings if any person scandalizes the Commission or otherwise does anything which tends to bring the commission or a member of the commission in relation to his office into hatred, ridicule or contempt. If the chairperson of the commission is a judge of the Supreme Court, the commission shall have the powers of the Supreme Court for the purpose of punishment for contempt.
Story first published: 30th November 2016