The office of the Advocate General of Sindh has prepared a petition to file before the Supreme Court (SC), asking it to review its orders passed in the suo motu proceedings on the murder of Sarfaraz Shah.
“Every party to a case has a right to seek a review of an order or a judgment but a review has a very limited scope,” explained Dr Muhammad Farogh Naseem, an expert on the constitution. “The review is tested on the touchstone of two key points ie a floating error or a flaw of fact,” he said, adding that review would be maintainable only when the government lawyers are able to point out any one of the two. If there is no stay order, the government is supposed to implement the direction given by the highest court of the country, he concluded.
On Friday afternoon, after a hearing at its principal seat, the SC ordered the Sindh govenrnment to transfer both the director-general of the Sindh Rangers and the inspector general of police in Sindh within three days.
According to sources at the AG’s office, the draft has been forwarded to the chief minister as his approval is manadatory. The review would be filed on Monday.
The Sindh government has taken the stance that it is attempting to save both the officers on the grounds that senior officers cannot be held accountable and punished for the wrongdoing of their subordinates.
The government’s legal advisers are not giving the executive proper advice and may further embarrass an already cornered provincial administration which responded very poorly to the incident, said Syed Mehmood Alam Rizvi, a former judge of the SHC and a senior lawyer practising on the criminal side.
The transfer of the two officers was a formal one as the court only ordered that they be replaced, said Rizvi, adding that apex court has powers to pass such an order.
The SCP took suo motu action as the provincial government had remained silent. It was primarily the duty of the Executive to take action when such acts which jolted the entire society, were committed, he said. Had the government moved in time, responsibly and by showing the resolve to take these men to task, the court would not have interevened. It is a charged judiciary after the restoration. The judiciary is bound to set precedents when the executive fails to deliver, said Rizvi.
When asked about inadequacies and infirmities in the FIR registered by the police soon after the incident, he said that once the recording of events was aired by television channels, the police was supposed to have acted sensibly and in view of new facts should have amended it.
The senior or commanding officers relied more on information fed by their subordinates and now they have to pay the price, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2011.