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ACT NO. VIII OF 2012

NATIONAL COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN BILL, 2012

An Act to provide for the setting up of National Commission on the status of Women

[Gazette of Pakistan, Extraordinary, Part-I, 10th March, 2012]

No. F. 9(4)/2012-Legis.—The following Act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) received the assent of the President on 8th March, 2012, is hereby published for general information:—

WHEREAS it is expedient to set up a National Commission on the Status of Women for the promotion of social, economic, political and legal rights of women, as provided in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and in accordance with international declarations. Conventions, treaties, Covenants and Agreements relating to women, including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto;

It is hereby enacted as follows:—

CHAPTER-I

PRELIMINARY

1.       Short title, extent and commencement.—(1) This Act may be called the National Commission on the Status of Women Bill, 2012.

(2)     It extends to the whole of Pakistan.

(3)     It shall come into force at once.

2.       Definitions.—In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,—

(a)      "Chairperson" means the Chairperson of the Commission as appointed under Section 4, and includes acting chairperson appointed under Section 7;

(b)     "Commission" means the National Commission on the status of Women established under Section 3;

(c)      "girl" means a female human being under the age of eighteen years;

(d)     "Member" means the Member of the Commission;

(e)      "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

(f)      "Secretary" means the Secretary of the Commission appointed under Section 9; and

(g)     "women" means a female human being of eighteen years or above.

CHAPTER-II 

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COMMISSION

3.  Establishment of the Commission.—(1) The Federal Government shall constitute a Commission to be known as the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), to exercise the powers conferred upon, and to perform the functions assigned to it, under this Act.

(2)  The Commission shall consist of,—

(a)      a Chairperson, who shall be a woman with experience of working or, issues related to women's rights for more than fifteen years, and is committed to the cause of women's empowerment;

(b)     two members from each Province of whom at least one member shall be a woman, one woman member each from Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, the Islamabad Capital Territory and from minorities;

(c)      five ex-officio members who shall be representatives of the Ministries of Law, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Interior and the Ministry concerned with the subject of women's rights not below BPS-20, and who shall not have the right to vote;

(d)     Chairperson or a designated member of each Provincial Commission on the Women's rights, set up under provincial laws; and

(e)      Secretary of the Commission, who shall not have the right to vote.

(3)     A member appointed under Paragraph (b) of sub-section (2), shall not be less than thirty years of age, with experience of working on issues related to women's rights and is committed to the cause of women's empowerment.

(4)     The headquarter of the Commission shall be at Islamabad.

(5)     The Commission shall be a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal with powers, among others to acquire, hold and dispose of any property and shall sue and be sued by the said name.

4.  Appointment of Chairperson.—(1) The Federal Government shall through public notice, invite suggestions for suitable persons for appointment as Chairperson and, after proper scrutiny, shall submit a list of those persons to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.

(2)     The Prime Minister shall in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly forward three names for Chairperson to a Parliamentary Committee for hearing and confirmation of any one person:

Provided that in case three is no consensus between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, each shall forward separate list to the Parliamentary Committee.

(3)     The Parliamentary Committee shall be constituted by the Speaker of the National Assembly and shall comprise fifty per cent members from the treasury benches and fifty per cent from the opposition parties, based on their strength in Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), to be nominated by the respective Parliamentary Leaders:

Provided that the total strength of the Parliamentary Committee shall not exceed twelve members out of which one-third shall be from the Senate.

(4)     The Parliamentary Committee shall regulate its own procedure.

(5)  The Parliamentary Committee shall forward the name of the nominee confirmed by it to the Prime Minister, who shall appoint the Chairperson accordingly.

5.       Appointment of members.—(1) The members, including ex-officio members, shall be appointed by the Prime Minister from amongst the names recommended under sub-section (2).

(2)     The Federal Government shall, after consultation with relevant stake-holders, recommend to the Prime Minister three names for each Member who fulfill the qualifications laid down in Section 3.

(3)     A vacancy of a Member shall be filled as provided in sub-Sections (1) and (2) within thirty days of the occurrence of the vacancy.

6.       Term of Office of Chairperson and of Members.—(1) A person appointed as the Chairperson and Member shall hold office for a term of three years from the date on which he or she enters upon his or her office. The term of the office may be extended only once.

(2)  The Chairperson or a Member may resign his or her office in writing under his or her hand addressed to Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and on acceptance of such resignation, such vacancy shall be filled within thirty days for the unexpired term of the member.

7.       Removal of Chairperson and Members.—The Chairperson and Members may be removed from office by the Prime Minister if he or she, as the case may be,—

(a)     is, after proper inquiry, found guilty of misconduct:

               Provided that in the case of the Chairperson, such finding shall be submitted to the Parliamentary Committee for confirmation;

(b)     is adjudged an insolvent;

(c)      is unfit to continue in office by reason of being mentally or physically challenged and stands so declared by a competent medical authority; and

(d)     has, on conviction of any offence involving moral turpitude been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his or her release.

8.       Acting Chairperson.—By reason of a vacancy in the office of Chairperson due to death, illness, resignation or otherwise, the Prime Minister shall appoint a woman from amongst the members of the Commission to act as Chairperson for a period of not exceeding thirty days or until the appointment of a new Chairperson, whichever is earlier.

9.       Terms and Conditions as applicable to members.—(1) The traveling and daily allowance and other allowances payable to and terms and conditions as applicable to members, other than ex-officio members, shall be such as may be prescribed.

(2)     The salary and allowances payable to and terms and conditions applicable to the Chairperson, shall be such as prescribed by the Federal Government.

(3)     The Chairperson of the Commission shall be full time, shall have the status equivalent to a Minister of State of the Federal Government. The executive and financial authority and responsibility of the Commission shall vest in the Chairperson who shall be the overall in-charge of the Commission.

(4)     A member of the Commission shall have status equivalent to BPS-21 of the Federal Government.

10.     Secretariat of the Commission.—(1) There shall be a Secretariat of the Commission headed by the Secretary with complement of officers and support staff as may be prescribed.

(2)     The Secretary on the instructions of the Commission will prepare a draft three year strategic plan, the Annual Work Plan and budget.

(3)     The Secretary shall be appointed in the manner as may be prescribed.

(4)     The appointment and terms and conditions of the employees of the Commission shall be such as may be prescribed.

CHAPTER-III 

FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF THE COMMISION

11.     Functions and Powers of the Commission.—The Commission,–

(a)      shall examine the policy, programs and other measures taken by the Federal government for gender equality, women's empowerment, political participation, representation, assess implementation and make suitable recommendations to the concerned authorities;

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