Saturday, 16 July 2011

Drafting Secretariat



1.         Introduction.
2.         Tools for Drafting.
3.         Principles of Drafting.
4.         The Six Interrogatives relating
            to drafting.

5.         Main Points of Drafting.
6.         Three Fundamentals of Drafting.
7.         Requirement of D.F.A.
8.         Ensuring Correctness.
9.         Conclusion.


            As per conventional or official practice in vogue, we can say that on cases where communications are to be issued, the officer concerned should submit, together with his note, draft for the approval to the higher officer who has to settle the matter finally. A higher officer, if he so wishes, may prepare a draft himself and authorize its issue or put it up to the next higher officer for approval, as the case may be.

            The process of drafting may be said to begin with the receipt of drafting instructions and end with completion of an agreed draft. However, the drafting process needs to be seen in a wider context if it is to be understand fully. The following are five   stages of drafting process. At each stage of the process, the concept is developed and refined:

            1.         Understanding
            2.         Analysis
            3.         Design
            4.         Composition
            5.         Scrutiny


            The first task for the officer is to understand what is the draft about.

2          ANALYSIS

            The analysis in relation to:

            a.         existing policies, rules and regulations.
            b.         potential danger areas (in respect of which the officer has a                                   special responsibility).
            c.         practicability (Practical aspects of the draft       communication).

3.         DESIGN (PLANNING)

            After gaining an understanding of the proposals and assessing their implications in relation to existing policies etc., the officer reaches the design or planning stage of drafting.

4.         COMPOSITION

            The composition is usually described as polishing the draft. (Process of Development).

5.         SCRUTINY (FINALIZATION)       

            The stage of scrutiny includes much       revisionary work, carried out both by the officer himself and     those who     instruct him. At this stage the officer must discipline to take a critical gaze at his finished draft.

            First, he should see its logical sequence,

            Secondly, he must get down to tedious matters of detail and check cross references, all other references, the use of definitions, consistency of language (“language is a system of vocal or linguistic symbols used in a particular society as a means of communication”), spelling and punctuation.

            a.         Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
            b.         All relevant laws.
            c.         The Rules of Business, 1973.
            e.         The Secretariat Instructions, 1994.
            f.          A book relating to Interpretation of Statutes.
            g.         Knowledge of Case Law on the relevant topic.
            h.         A good Urdu to English Dictionary.
            i.          A  good English to English Dictionary.
            J.         A Dictionary relating to Latin Terms or about foreign words.
            k.         A Dictionary of Legal Terms and Phrases.
            l.          A  good  Book  on  English Grammar.
            m.        A good Book on use of English Prepositions and Phrases.


            Before going to start drafting, the following principles should be strictly observed by an officer who is drafting:-

(i)            That he should move in logical     progression and order from Understanding to Analysis to Design to Composition and to Scrutiny or Finalization.
(ii)          He should fully understand the    instructions and their background before beginning.
(iii)         He should revise his draft till maximum perfection of the draft and to his satisfaction.
(iv)         He should also explain about drafting instructions to his officer, if so desired by him.
(v)          He should state clearly and fully the principle objects of the draft.
(vi)         His draft should refer to all known implications and difficulties whether legal, social or administrative.
(vii)        He should also study all relevant rules and regulations etc.
(viii)      He should always consult to others in the same field before finalizing his draft.                                                                  


            Before   beginning   to  draft   a communication, it is  advisable  to  bear  in    mind   six    basic   interrogatives,  namely, what,  where,  when, who  why  and   how. These interrogatives can be put into following concrete questions:-
a)         What is the type of Communication?
b)         Where has it come from?
c)         When it was written?
d)         Who has sent it?
e)         Why it has been sent?
f)          How should it be dealt with?

  1. These  questions  enable  the  officer  to determine:-

a)         The   purpose   of   sending   a communication and form of its
b)         The identity and status of the correspondence - whether it is a                      private person or a commercial or industrial concern, or an           autonomous or a semi-autonomous organization or a Government      office, a Division, an Attached Department or a             subordinate office;

            c)         The approximate time required for a reply;

            d)         Who is responsible to send a final reply;

            e)         The purpose and subject matter of the communication and finally;

f)           The process, methods and procedures to be adopted for its disposal.


While preparing a draft, the following points should be kept in view:-

  1. A draft should be written, preferably typed in double space on both sides of the paper. A sufficiently wide margin should be left for corrections and additions.

  1. All drafts should bear the relevant file number and the subject. The reference number of the addressee’s letter, if available.     

  1. When two or more letters, notifications etc., are to issue under the same file number,      on the same date, to the same addressee, a serial number should  always  be given in addition to the file number to avoid confusion.

  1. A draft should show clearly the enclosures which are to accompany the   fair copy.

  1. The number of enclosures should also be indicated at the end of the draft on the left hand corner or the page.

  1. The officer over whose signature the      communication is, to be issued should initial and date the draft in token of his approval. His designation should invariably be indicated on the draft.

  1. The appropriate priority marking i.e. “Residence” “Immediate” or “Priority” should be indicated on the draft. If any papers        are to be dispatched by special messenger or issued under registered post or under postal certificate, as Express delivery or by Air Mail, necessary  instructions  should  be  given  on  the draft for the of guidance the dispatcher.


A.                 Writing of a communication means talking across distance by means of written words.  First the writer should realize that there is some one at the other end, who will receive the communication, read it, and be pleased, interested, bored, disgusted, worried or annoyed by its contents.

B.                 One should write after careful thinking over the subject matters. Otherwise, a rambling and muddled communication will be the result. Clear thought is therefore essential for clear expression.

C.                 Long and complex communication not only waste the time of the reader but also annoy him. A straight - forward letter written in simple language has the best chance of securing full attention and action.


            The following are some conventional / official requirements which should also be kept in mind by the officer while preparing a D.F.A.

1.            D. F. A. should be typed in double space.
2.            D.F.A. should bear the relevant file number.
3.            A serial number should be given (in case of            more than one D.F.A.).
4.            A D.F.A. should indicate the enclosures, if any.
5.            Appropriate priority marking should be indicated.
6.            D.F.A. should be flagged. 


1)      Read the matter carefully.
2)      Know and collect the facts.
3)      Review the relevant files/                         documents etc.
4)      Under-line important facts.
5)      Check every statement.
6)      No  possible  question  should    remain un-answered
7)      Ensure  that  the  language  is    correct.
8)      It should properly be          referenced     and flagged.
9)      The  file  should  be  in  good      condition.
10)   Read  before  signing.
            To cut the long story short, drafting is a practical art. Its practice needs long apprenticeship.

            Drafting of communication has to be done within certain limitations and restrictions, imposed by the requirements of the case and legal nature of the document. Every comma, semicolon and full stop in a document is significant and important, therefore, a communication has to be phrased and drawn up in positive, definite, clear and elaborate language to lessen the possibility and chance of misconstruction.

Tags: Noting & Drafting, Noting Secretariat, Drafting Secretariat, Official Language uses in government offices, Noting and Drafting proceedur, Functional English, Forms of Communication, Noting, Drafting, Official letters

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