KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed on Tuesday a provincial law officer to submit the minutes of the provincial Cabinet's meeting convened to formulate rules regarding the transfers and postings of police officers in compliance with the orders passed by the Supreme Court.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, also warned of an appropriate order in case the minutes of the meeting were not submitted by February 26.
The bench was hearing an application seeking contempt of court proceedings against Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Chief Secretary Muhammad Rizwan Memon over alleged non-implementation of the court's judgment in relation to enactment of rules regarding transfers, postings and tenures in the police force.
At the outset of Tuesday's proceedings, an assistant advocate-general informed that in compliance with the orders passed by the apex court, the provincial government had held meetings with the IG on the subject, adding that a meeting of the provincial cabinet was also held for this purpose.
The law officer dispelled the impression that the Sindh government and IG were not on the same page on the subject of formulation of rules for the transfers and postings of police officers. The government, in consultation with IG Allah Dino Khowaja, had also constituted a committee to review the existing rules, he added.
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Justice Akhtar observed that the court had directed the government to do legislation within 30 days. Irked due to delays in complying with the court orders, the judge remarked that the respondents could not be given a lifetime for that task.
The bench members cautioned the Sindh government that it may pass an order, as deemed fit in the case in accordance with the law, in case the respondents caused any further delay in formulating the rules.
The bench also directed the law officer to submit a copy of the minutes of the meeting of the Sindh Cabinet held with regard to formulation of the service rules, by February 26, the next date of hearing.
The SHC had taken up an application seeking contempt of court proceedings against the chief minister and chief secretary for allegedly failing to implement the court's earlier orders for the enactment of rules regarding the transfers, postings and tenures in the police force.
The applicants, including Karamat Ali and others, recalled that in its judgment announced on September 27, the SHC had quashed the transfer and posting notification of senior police officers issued on July 7, 2017, and declared all similar notifications as unlawful.
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The petitioners argued that the court had quashed those notifications because such powers for transfers and postings of police officers at all levels, inclusive of Police Service of Pakistan officers serving in the province, were vested in the IG and were to be exercised by the top cop in terms of rules or orders to be framed.
The judges were informed that the court had directed the provincial police chief to frame draft rules within 30 days, setting out the manner in which the IG and/or the police hierarchy acting through him was to exercise the powers of transfers and postings in the police force at all levels.
The court had observed that the rules must also, inter alia, set out the period or term that is ordinarily to be served at any level or post so as to ensure that "the rules laid down by the Supreme Court in the Anita Turab case shall apply in relation thereto," the applicants' lawyer, Faisal Siddiqui said.
He added that the court had further observed that the draft rules shall be transmitted to the provincial government, meaning the Sindh Cabinet, and posted simultaneously and prominently on the website of the Sindh police.
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The lawyer alleged that the Sindh Cabinet did not implement the judgment in letter and spirit, adding that instead it tried to remove the IG in order to delay and avoid the enactment of draft rules framed by the police chief.
Therefore, the court was pleaded to direct the chief secretary and IG to file a report regarding implementation of the court's direction in relation to the enactment of rules regarding transfers, postings and tenures in the police force.