Govt sets 30-day deadline for law dept to vet bills

PESHAWAR: In a bid to speed up the process of completing legal formalities for projects in the province, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday has issued a guide for vetting legal documents, fixing a specific timeframe for examination of documents.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Law Department has issued a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all legal documents including rules, laws, regulations, by-laws, notifications and orders to all administrative departments of the government.

Officials dealing with the matter said that the SOPs were issued to expedite the process of making laws. ‘

“Previously, it would take months for the law department to vet bills and this would delay government jobs which require legal formalities, but now time frames have been specified for vetting which is to be adhered to,” said an official while requesting not to be named since he was not authorized to speak to the media.

As per the SOPs, draft bills must be examined and vetted by the law department within 30 days.

Similarly, 30 days have been allotted for vetting any new rules and regulations. However, the government has just set seven days to vet statutory notifications and orders.

Service rules can be vetted between seven to 14 days, while draft agreements have been allowed to take up to 20 days. Moreover, the administrative department will now draft legislation which will then be vetted by the law department, hence, the law department will not be an originating office.

Further, if any draft legislation involves financial implications, then the administrative department must consult the finance department before sending it to the law department for vetting.

If the draft involves issues relating to service issues, then it should be referred to the establishment department.

Summaries for the approval of draft laws and rules by senior government authorities shall only be submitted once it is cleared by the law department.

For this purpose, the administrative department has been asked to nominate a senior officer for coordinating with the law department once it submits a draft law or rules with statutory backing.

Further, the administrative department will be responsible for providing both hard and soft copies to the law department and for the vetting process.

On the other hand, the law department has been bound to examine the draft law minutely so as to ensure that it should not be in contradiction with the Constitution or with any existing law currently enforce or with the principals of lawmaking.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2018.

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