CHAPTER XXI GENERAL RULES
A – NOTICE
205. APPLICABILITY OF GENERAL RULES:–
Except for matters for which special provisions are made in these rules, the general rules contained in this Chapter shall apply to all matters; and if, any provision in the special rules relating to a matter is inconsistent with the general rules, the former shall prevail.
206. NOTICE BY MEMBERS:–
(1) Save as otherwise provided in these rules, every notice shall be given in writing addressed to the Secretary and signed by the member giving notice and shall be delivered at the Assembly Secretariat on any working day during office hours.
(2) A notice delivered after office hours or on holidays shall be treated as delivered on the next working day.
207. CIRCULATION OF NOTICES:–
(1) The Secretary shall cause a copy of every notice together with its accompaniments to be circulated and made available to every member and to any other person entitled to take part in the proceedings of the Assembly.
Explanation: The notice under this rules shall be deemed to have been made available –
(a) if it is delivered by hand at the local address given by the member when the Assembly is in session or placed on the seat allotted to the member in the Assembly; or
(b) when the Assembly is not in session, by sending it by registered post to the members’ at their permanent addresses, two days before commencement of the session.
B – MOTIONS
208. DECISIONS BY MOTIONS:–
A matter requiring the decision of the Assembly shall be brought forward by means of a question put by the Speaker on a motion moved by a member.
209. NOTICE OF MOTION OR AMENDMENT:–
Save as otherwise provided in these rules, a member who wishes to move a motion shall give, to the Secretary, in the case of a substantive motion, at least seven clear days’ and in the case of an amendment at least two clear days’ notice in writing:
Provided that the Speaker may allow a motion or an amendment to a motion to be moved at a shorter notice.
Explanation.– A substantive motion is a self-contained proposal submitted for the approval of the Assembly and drafted in such a way as to be capable of expressing a decision of the Assembly.
210. MOVING OF MOTIONS:–
(1) Except as otherwise provided in these rules, a motion or an amendment which requires notice may be moved only by the member giving notice.
(2) A motion or an amendment may not be moved in a form different from that in which it appears on the notice, unless the Speaker permits it to be moved in an altered form.
(3) If a motion or an amendment is not moved, it shall be deemed to have been withdrawn.
211. REPETITION OF MOTION:–
Except as otherwise provided by these rules, a motion shall not raise a question substantially identical with one on which the Assembly has given a decision in the same session.
(2) The provisions of sub-rule (1) shall not be deemed to prevent the making of any of the following motions; namely:-
(a) a motion for taking into consideration, or reference to a Standing Committee, of a Bill where an amendment to the effect that the Bill be circulated for the purpose of eliciting opinion thereon has been carried to a previous motion for taking the Bill into consideration; or
(b) a motion for the amendment of a Bill which has been recommitted to a Standing Committee or re-circulated for the purpose of eliciting opinion thereon; or
(c) a motion for the amendment of a Bill which is consequential or is designed merely to alter the drafting of another amendment which has been carried.
212. ANTICIPATION OF ANY MATTER:–
(1) A motion or an amendment will not anticipate a matter already appointed for consideration of the Assembly.
(2) In determining whether a motion or an amendment is out of order on the ground of anticipation, the Speaker shall have regard to the probability of the matter anticipated being brought before the Assembly within a reasonable time.
213. PROPOSING OF QUESTION:–
When a motion has been moved, the Speaker may propose the question for the consideration of the Assembly, and if a motion embodies two or more separate propositions, each of the proposition may be proposed as a separate question.
214. WITHDRAWAL OF MOTION:–
At any time after the question on a motion has been proposed and before the voting has taken place, the member, who has made a motion, may withdraw the same by leave of the Assembly:
(a) if an amendment has been proposed to a motion, the original motion shall not be withdrawn until the amendment has been disposed of; and
(b) there shall be no discussion on a request for leave to withdraw a motion, except with the consent of the Speaker.
C – AMENDMENT
(1) An amendment shall be within the scope of, and relevant to, the subject matter of the motion to which it is proposed.
(2) An amendment shall not raise a question which, by these rules, can only be raised by a substantive motion after notice.
(3) An amendment shall not be moved which has merely the effect of a negative vote.
(4) An amendment on a question shall not be inconsistent with the previous decision on the same question at the same stage of a Bill or a matter.
(5) An amendment may be moved to an amendment which has been moved in the Assembly.
(6) In respect of a motion or in respect of a Bill under consideration in the Assembly, the Speaker shall have the power to select one or several identical or substantially identical amendments to be proposed.
216. NOTICE OF AMENDMENTS:–
Notice of an amendment to a motion shall be given one day before on which the motion is to be considered, unless the Speaker allows the amendment to be moved without such notice.
217. PUTTING OF AMENDMENTS:–
(1) Subject to sub-rule (2), the Speaker may put amendments in such order as he thinks fit.
(2) The Speaker may refuse to put an amendment which, in his opinion, is frivolous, inconsistent or meaningless or which has become infructuous.
218. CORRECTION OF PATENT ERRORS:–
Where a Bill or a resolution is passed by the House, the Speaker shall have power to correct patent errors such as re-numbering or re-lettering of the clauses, sub-clauses and references thereof and make such other changes in the Bill or a resolution as are incidental or consequential upon the amendments accepted by the House.
D – DEBATE
219. MODE OF ADDRESS:–
A member desiring to speak on any matter before the Assembly or to raise a point of order or a point of privilege shall –
(a) speak only when called upon by the Speaker to do so;
(b) speak from his place;
(c) rise when he speaks; and
(d) address the Speaker:
Provided that a member disabled by sickness or infirmity may be permitted to speak while sitting:
Provided further that the speech of a member who speaks without the permission of the Speaker shall not be recorded and it shall not form part of the proceedings of the Assembly.
220. RULES TO BE OBSERVED WHILE SPEAKING:–
(1) The subject matter of every speech shall be relevant to the matter before the Assembly.
(2) Except with the permission of the Speaker, a member may not read his speech but may refresh his memory by reference to his notes.
(3) A member while speaking shall not –
(a) discuss any matter which is sub-judice;
(b) reflect upon the Governor in his personal capacity:
Provided that nothing in this clause shall preclude any reference, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, to the President or the Governor in relation to any act done by him in his official capacity;
(c) discuss the conduct of any judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties;
(d) make a personal charge against a member, a Minister or the holder of a public office, except it may be relevant in regard to the matter before the Assembly;
(e) use his right of speech for the purpose of willfully and persistently obstructing the business of the Assembly;
(f) use offensive expressions about the conduct of proceedings in the National Assembly, the Senate or the Provincial Assemblies;
(g) reflect on any determination of the Assembly except on a motion for rescinding it;
(h) use the name of the President or the Governor for the purpose of influencing the debate;
(i) utter treasonable, seditious or defamatory words or make use of offensive or unparliamentary expression;
Explanation: In this clause, ‘un-parliamentary expression’ means any expression which imputes false motives to a member or charges him with falsehood or is couched in abusive or indecent or undignified language.
221. IRRELEVANCE OR REPETITION:–
The Speaker, after having called the attention of the member who persists in irrelevance or in tedious repetition either of his own arguments or of the arguments used by other members in debate, may direct him to discontinue his speech.
222. PERSONAL EXPLANATION:–
A member may, with the permission of the Speaker, make a personal explanation although there is no question before the Assembly, but no debate shall be allowed on it.
223. ORDER OF SPEECHES AND RIGHT OF REPLY:–
(1) After the member who makes a motion has spoken, other members may speak on the motion in the order in which the Speaker may call upon them and if any member, who is so called upon, does not speak, he shall not be entitled, except with the permission of the Speaker, to speak on the motion at any later stage of the debate.
(2) Except in the exercise of a right of reply or as otherwise provided by these rules, a member shall not speak more than once on any motion, save with the permission of the Speaker, for the purpose of making a personal explanation but in that case no debatable matter may be brought forward.
(3) A member who has made a motion may speak by way of reply, and if the motion has been made by a private member, the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary concerned may speak after the mover has replied.
(4) The provision of sub-rule (3) shall not be deemed to give any right of reply to the mover of a cut motion or to the mover of an amendment to a Bill, a resolution or a motion, save with the permission of the Speaker.
224. MOVER’S REPLY TO CONCLUDE DEBATE:–
Subject to sub-rule (3) of rule 223, the reply of the mover of the original motion shall in all cases conclude the debate.
225. PROCEDURE WHEN THE SPEAKER ADDRESSES:–
(1) Whenever the Speaker addresses the Assembly, he shall heard the silence and any member who is then speaking or offering to speak shall immediately resume his seat.
(2) No member shall leave his seat while Speaker is addressing the Assembly.
226. QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED THROUGH THE SPEAKER:–
When, for the purpose of explanation during discussion or for any other sufficient reason, any member has occasion to ask a question of another member on any matter then under the consideration of the Assembly, he shall ask the question through the Speaker.
227. LIMITATION ON DEBATE:–
(1) Whenever the debate on any motion in connection with a Bill or on any other motion becomes protracted, the Speaker may, after taking the sense of the Assembly, fix a time limit for the conclusion of discussion on any stage or all stages of the Bill or the motion, as the case may be.
(2) At the appointed hour, in accordance with the time limit fixed for the completion of a particular stage of a Bill or a motion, the Speaker shall, unless the debate is sooner concluded, forthwith put every question necessary to dispose of all the outstanding matters in connection with that stage of the Bill or the motion.
(3) The Speaker may fix time limit for a speech on a Bill or a motion.
E – QUORUM, VOTING AND CLOSURE
(1) If at any time during the sitting of the Assembly, the attention of the Speaker is drawn to the effect that less than one-fourth of the total membership of the Assembly is present, he shall suspend the business and cause the bells to be rung for five minutes. But if no quorum is available after the bells stopped ringing, he shall adjourn the Assembly for fifteen minutes.
(2) If on re-assembly after fifteen minutes, there is no quorum, the Speaker shall either suspend the sitting until atleast one-fourth of the total membership is present, or adjourn the Assembly till the next working day.
229. PROCEDURE FOR VOTING:–
(1) Save as otherwise provided, the votes of members on any question put by the Speaker may be taken by voice by inviting those in favour of the motion to say “Aye” and those against it, to say “No” and the Speaker will say “I think the ’Ayes’ (or the ‘Noes’) have it”. If this opinion of the Speaker goes unchallenged, he will then say “The ‘Ayes’ (or the Noes) have it”, and the question before the Assembly shall stand decided accordingly.
(2) If the opinion of the Speaker to the decision of a question is challenged, he shall order that the Lobbies be cleared.
(3) If the opinion of the Speaker as to the decision of the question is challenged and Division is demanded, he may direct that the votes be taken by Division in the manner set out in the Sixth Schedule or by operating the automatic vote recorder, or the Speaker may ask the members who are for “Ayes” and those for “Noes”, respectively, to rise in their places and on a count being taken he shall declare the decision of the Assembly in which case, names of the voters shall not be recorded.
(4) The result of voting by a Division shall be announced by the Speaker and shall not be challenged.
(5) A member, who is unable to go to the Division lobby may, with the permission of the Speaker, have his vote recorded either in his seat in the Assembly Chamber or in the Lobby.
230. DIVISION BY AUTOMATIC VOTE RECORDER:–
(1) Where the Speaker directs under sub-rule (3) of rule 229 that the votes be recorded by operating the automatic vote recorder, it shall be put into operation and the members shall cast their votes from the seats respectively allotted to them by pressing the buttons provided for the purpose.
(2) After the result of the voting appears on the indicator board, the Speaker shall announce the result of the division and the result shall not be challenged.
(3) A member who is not able to cast his vote by pressing the button provided of the purpose due to any reason considered sufficient by the Speaker, may, with the permission of the Speaker, have his vote recorded verbally buy stating whether he is in favour or against the motion, before the result of the division is announced.
(4) If a member finds that he has voted by mistake by pressing the wrong button, he may be allowed to correct his mistake, provided that he beings it to the notice of the Speaker before the result of the division announced.
(1) At any time after a motion has been made, or is deemed to have been made under these rules, a member may move “That the question be now put” and, unless it appears to the Speaker that the motion is an abuse of these rules or an infringement of the right of reasonable debate, the Speaker shall put the motion “That the question be now put”.
(2) Where a motion under sub-rule (1) is carried, the question shall be put without amendment or debate, unless the Speaker allows a member such right of reply as he may have under these rules.
F – POINTS OF ORDER
232. DECISION ON POINTS OF ORDER:–
(1) A point of order shall relate to the interpretation or enforcement of these rules or the interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution regulating the business of the Assembly.
(2) A member raising a point of order shall confine to the point raised.
(3) Except on a matter arising out of a Division, no point of order shall be raised during the Division.
(4) The Speaker shall decide a point of order and his decision shall be final.
(5) No discussion or debate, shall be allowed on any point of order but the Speaker may, if he thinks fit, hear a member before giving his decision.
(6) A point of order is not a point of privilege.
(7) A point of order shall not –
(a) seek information in respect of any matter;
(b) explain member’s personal position;
(c) be raised when any motion is being put to the Assembly; or
(d) be hypothetical;
G – MAINTENANCE OF ORDER
233. POWER TO WITHDRAWAL OF MEMBERS OR SUSPEND SITTING:–
The Speaker shall have powers to-
(a) preserve order and decorum in the Assembly;
(b) enforce his decisions;
(c) have galleries cleared;
(d) direct a member to withdraw from the Assembly if in his opinion the conduct of such member is grossly disorderly;
(e) direct a member who has been ordered to withdraw from the Assembly more than once during the same session to absent himself from the sittings of the Assembly for a period not exceeding fifteen days;
(f) suspend or adjourn the sitting of the Assembly in case grave disorder;
(g) appoint a Sergeant-at-Arms to carry out his order and appoint such other officers as he may consider necessary to assist the Sergeant-at-Arms.
(1) The admission to the Galleries of the Assembly during its sittings shall be regulated in accordance with the orders made by the Speaker.
(2) The Speaker may, whenever he thinks fit, order the Galleries to be cleared or any stranger to be removed.
235. REMOVAL OF STRANGERS:–
An officer authorised in this behalf by the Speaker shall remove from the precincts of the Assembly any stranger whom he may see, or who may be reported to him to be in any portion of the precincts of the Assembly reserved for the exclusive use of members, or who having been admitted into any portion of the precincts of the Assembly, misconducts himself or willfully infringes the directions given by the Speaker under sub-rule (1) of rule 234 or does not withdraw when directed under sub-rule (2) of rule 234 and may also remove a stranger who had previously misbehaved and apprehension of his doing so again exists.
H – SECRET SITTINGS
236. SECRET SITTING:–
(1) On a request made by the Leader of the House or a Minister acting on his behalf, the Speaker may, in his discretion, fix a day or part thereof for sitting of the Assembly in secret.
(2) When the Assembly sits in secret, no stranger shall be permitted to be present in the Chamber, Lobby or Galleries, except the Secretary and such other officers of the Assembly or other persons as the Speaker may direct.
237. REPORT OF THE PROCEEDINGS:–
The Speaker may cause a report of the proceedings of a secret sitting to be kept in such manner as he thinks fit, but no other person shall keep a note or record of any proceedings or decisions of a secret sitting, whether in part or full, or issue any report of, or divulge or describe, such proceedings.
238. PROCEDURE IN OTHER RESPECTS:–
Subject to these rules, the procedure in all other respects in connection with a secret sitting shall be in accordance with such directions as the Speaker may give.
239. LIFTING BAN OF SECRECY:–
(1) When it is considered that the necessity for maintaining secrecy in regard to the proceedings of a sitting has ceased to exist, a motion may, subject to the consent of the Speaker, be moved by the Leader of the House or any member authorized by him in this behalf that the proceedings be no longer treated as secret.
(2) On adoption of a motion under sub-rule (1), the Secretary shall cause to be prepared a report of the proceedings of the secret sitting, and shall, as soon as practicable, publish it in such form and manner as the Speaker may direct.
240. DISCLOSURE OF PROCEEDINGS OR DECISIONS:–
Save as provided in rule 239, the disclosure of the proceedings or decisions of a secret sitting by any person in any manner shall be treated as a gross breach of privilege of the Assembly.
I – REPORT AND RECORDS
241. LANGUAGE OF THE ASSEMBLY:–
The members shall ordinarily address the Assembly in Urdu or Sindhi, but the member who cannot adequately express himself in Urdu or Sindhi, may, with the permission of the Speaker, address the Assembly in English or any other recognized language of the Province.
242. REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS:–
(1) The Secretary shall cause a report of the proceedings of the Assembly be prepared at each of its sittings, and shall, as soon as practicable, publish it in such form and manner as the Speaker may, from time to time, direct.
(2) The report so published shall be the authentic record of the proceedings of the Assembly and shall not be questioned or challenged on any ground whatsoever.
(3) The proceedings of the Assembly may be directly broadcasted or telecasted, as the case may be, with the permission of the Speaker.
243. CUSTODY OF DOCUMENTS AND RECORDS:–
The Secretary shall have the custody of all records, documents including the original documents notified in the Gazette, and papers belonging to the Assembly or any of its Committees or the Secretariat of the Assembly and he shall not permit any such records, documents or papers to be taken out of the Secretariat without the permission in writing of the Speaker.
244. EXPUNCTION OF WORDS:–
If the Speaker is of the opinion that words have been used in debate which are defamatory, indecent, unparliamentary or undignified, he may, at any time, order that such words be expunged from the proceedings of the Assembly.
245. INDICATION IN PRINTED DEBATES OF EXPUNGED PROCEEDINGS:–
The portion of the proceedings of the Assembly so expunged shall be marked by asterisk and an explanatory footnote shall be inserted in the proceedings as “Expunged as ordered by the Speaker”.
J – RULES TO BE OBSERVED IN THE ASSEMBLY
246. RULES TO BE OBSERVED BY MEMBERS WHILE PRESENT IN ASSEMBLY:–
While the Assembly is sitting, a member –
(a) shall not read any book, newspaper or letter except in connection with business of the Assembly;
(b) shall not pass between the Chair and any member who is speaking;
(c) shall not interrupt any member while speaking by disorderly expression or noises or in any other disorderly manner;
(d) shall always address the Chair;
(e) shall keep to his usual seat while addressing the Assembly;
(f) shall maintain silence when not speaking in the Assembly;
(g) shall not obstruct proceedings and shall avoid making running commentaries when speeches are being made in the Assembly;
(h) shall not applaud when a stranger enters any of the Galleries except when a foreign delegation or a foreign dignitary is specially invited to the sitting;
(i) shall not, while speaking, make any reference to a stranger in any of the galleries except when a foreign delegation or a foreign dignitary is specially invited to the sitting;
(j) shall not occupy a seat in the Galleries nor, while in the Chamber, engage himself in conversation with any visitor in a Gallery; and
(k) shall not use a mobile telephone.
K – LAPSE OF BUSINESS
247. LAPSE OF PENDING NOTICES ON PROROGATION:–
(1) On the prorogation of the Assembly, all pending notices, other than notices of Questions and notices relating to Bills, shall lapse and fresh notices therefor shall be given for the next session.
(2) The Bills which have been introduced shall be carried over to the pending List of Business of the next session. If the member-in-charge makes no motion in regard to the Bill during two consecutive sessions, the Bill shall lapse, unless the Assembly, on a motion by the member-in-charge in the next session, makes a special order for the continuance of the Bill.
248. MOTION, RESOLUTION OR AMENDMENT MOVED NOT TO LAPSE:–
The motion, the resolution or the amendment which has been moved and is pending in the Assembly, shall not lapse by reason only of the prorogation of the Assembly.
249. EFFECT OF DISSOLUTION OF ASSEMBLY:–
On the dissolution of the Assembly, all pending business shall lapse, except the business of Public Accounts Committee.
L – MISCELLANEOUS
250. SECRETARY TO BE EX-OFFICIO SECRETARY OF COMMITTEES:–
The Secretary shall be ex-officio Secretary of all the Committees of the Assembly.
251. SECRETARY MAY AUTHORIZE ANY OFFICER:–
The Secretary may authorize any officer of the Assembly Secretariat to perform such duties as he may direct.
252. SPEAKER TO AMEND NOTICES AND MOTIONS:–
If in the opinion of the Speaker, any notice or motion contains words, phrases or expressions which are argumentative, un-parliamentary, ironical, irrelevant, verbose or otherwise inappropriate, he may, in his discretion, amend such notice or motion before it is circulated.
253. NO SPEECH AFTER A QUESTION OR A MOTION IS PUT:–
A member shall not speak after the Speaker has put a question or a motion, as the case may be, to the Assembly.
254. CASTING VOTE:–
The Speaker shall not vote except in the event of an equality of votes.
255. VALIDITY OF PROCEEDINGS:–
(1) The validity of the proceedings of the Assembly shall not be called in question on the ground of any irregularity of procedure.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of these rules, no proceedings in the Assembly shall be invalid only for the reason that a person who was disqualified for being a member, was present at or voted or otherwise took part in the proceedings.
256. SUSPENSION OF RULES:–
The Speaker or the Assembly may suspend any of the rules.
257. RESIDUARY POWERS OF THE SPEAKER:–
(1) All matters not specifically provided for in these rules shall be regulated in such manner as the Speaker may deem fit.
(2) Any decision taken, ruling given or direction issued by the Speaker in these rules, shall not be called in question in any manner or on any ground whatsoever.
(3) No person shall comment upon or make any statement in Print or Electronic Media or any other source of communication or otherwise in respect of any ruling given or direction issued by the Speaker.
258. PAPERS TO BE LAID ON THE TABLE:–
Every dispatch or State paper quoted by the Minister in the Assembly shall be laid on the Table:
Provided that nothing in these rules, shall apply to documents, disclosure of which is against the public interest, or summary or gist whereof has been given by the Minister or a Parliamentary Secretary in his quotation.
259. TREATMENT OF PAPERS LAID ON THE TABLE:–
(1) A paper or document to be laid on the Table shall be duly authenticated by the member or the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary by whom it is so laid.
(2) All papers and documents laid on the Table shall be considered public documents.
260. PROCEDURE WHEN A MINISTER DISCLOSES SOURCE OF ADVICE OR OPINION GIVEN TO HIM:–
If, in answer to a question or during debate, a Minister or a Parliamentary Secretary discloses the advice or opinion given to him by any officer of the Government or by any other person or authority, he shall ordinarily lay the relevant document or parts of documents containing that opinion or advice or a summary thereof on the Table.
261. STATEMENTS ON MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE:–
(1) A Minister may, with the consent of the Speaker, make a statement on a matter of public importance.
(2) At the time, the statement is made, no question or discussion in respect thereof shall be allowed.
262. USE OF ASSEMBLY CHAMBER:–
Except with the permission of the Speaker or of the House, the Assembly Chamber shall not be used for any purpose other than the sittings of the Assembly.
263. TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS:–
If there be no Speaker at the time of the dissolution of the Assembly or if the Speaker continuing after the dissolution of the Assembly under clause (8) of Article 53 read with Article 127 of the Constitution resigns or dies or is otherwise absent, the Secretary shall take such actions, till the election of Speaker, as are necessary for the running of the day to day affairs of the Assembly, the convening of the first sitting of the Assembly after general elections and for the conduct of business by the Assembly.
264. COUNCIL OF CHAIRMEN:–
There shall be a Council of Chairmen consisting of the Chairmen of the Standing Committees headed by the Speaker to consider and coordinate in the matters relating to the Standing Committees.
265. GENERAL DISCUSSION:–
(1) A Minister or a member may give notice of a motion that any policy or situation may be discussed by the Assembly.
(2) The Assembly shall proceed to discuss the motion after the mover has concluded his speech and no question shall be put at the conclusion of the debate unless a Minister or a member, with the consent of the Speaker.
266. PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY MAY ANSWER QUESTION AND SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION:–
A member, appointed as Parliamentary Secretary, may answer questions and supplementary questions on behalf of the Minister concerned and perform such other functions in the Assembly as may be assigned to him by the Minister.