ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to establish a dedicated cell at the law ministry for regulating the publication of law books and the official gazette. A parliamentary panel has unanimously passed a bill in this regard.
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights considered during its recent meeting ‘The Publication of Laws of Pakistan (Regulation) Ordinance No VIII of 2015’, according to which law ministry’s approval is necessary for publication of any such book.
By notification in the official gazette, the federal government would establish a cell to be known as Laws of Pakistan Cell, as per the new bill. The cell shall regulate publication of translation of the country’s laws as well as issue guidelines from time to time for standard translation into Urdu as well as regional languages and vernaculars.
According to the new procedure, a dedicated cell in the law ministry would vet the material provided by publishers and then the ministry would issue a clearance certificate for publication to remove any flaws and errors. If a publisher fails to follow the procedure, he may face six months in prison as well as up to Rs10 million in fines.
In case the ministry fails to identify any present errors in the books, then the cell would have to bear the burden. The draftsmen or proofreaders may also be penalised.
It will be mandatory for the publisher to use 52-gram papers, which are used for publishing the Holy Quran. If the publisher violates this rule, then he may be fined Rs100,000 and he will also have to pay the difference against each and every page as additional fine.
The bill also discourages filing a plethora of FIRs at different police stations for one specific offence. Any person may lodge a complaint with the first-class magistrate in the jurisdiction where the impugned publication has been published or is being sold.
To the extent of federal laws, the centre shall compile and maintain an updated and accurate version and translation thereof in Urdu. The cell will register publishers of laws of Pakistan, regulate the publication of the standard translation of laws, review every proposed publication of a law and issue certificates of accuracy. The body will also seize any unauthorised publication.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2015.