KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered on Tuesday to submit the details of the debate on the bill passed by Sindh Assembly regarding police reforms and the discussions that took place in the Select Committee.
A two-member-bench comprising Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Mehmood A Khan was hearing the contempt of court pleas against provincial chief secretary and others for not implementing judicial orders on reforms in the Police department. Sindh Advocate-general Salman Talibuddin informed the court that the bill for the revival of Police Order 2002 has already been passed in the Sindh Assembly.
The petitioner's counsel, Barrister Faisal Siddiqui, argued that the new law passed by the assembly on May 17, was contrary to the directives issued by the court.
The court remarked that has the opposition been taken into confidence? The opposition parties had boycotted the select committee, said the court adding that this was an important social issue and its effects would go long way. All the parties should have agreed on it.
The advocate-general, however, said that the judicial orders have been complied with therefore the plea should be rejected.
Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi remarked that the clauses mentioned in the judicial orders should have been considered. "Tell us about the number of members who had participated in the discussion on this bill? There should have been a consenus."
Advocate-general Sindh argued that "I can't provide these details because we are not bound to submit details of assembly's proceedings."
The court remarked that that's fine if you cannot provide the details but whatever has been reported in the media doesn't reveal anything. At least tell us that to what extent the judicial orders have been implemented.
Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi remarked that at least the adopted bill should have been placed before the court for its review.
Barrister Faisal Siddiqui said "you would see complete violation of judicial orders in the bill. The IG would commit the contempt of court if he acts according to the bill passed", said Bariister Siddiqui adding that "It is not a Nazi state and here the laws passed in the assemblies are public property."
The court sought the details of police law passed in the Sindh Assembly as well as the discussion over it in the assembly. The court adjourned the hearing till June 13.
The petitioner Karamat Ali had maintained in his plea that the government of Sindh wanted to make police law of its own choice to regulate the appointments, transfer and promotions of police officials while ignoring the judicial orders in this regard. The petitioner had requested for contempt of court proceedings against officials of the Sindh government for their failure to implement orders of the superior courts.
The SHC in September 2017 had aside the Sindh government's orders to curtail the operational and administrative authority the provincial police chief. In its order the SHC maintained that the provincial police chief enjoyed full autonomy to manage and regulate the operation, transfer and postings in his department. The court also ruled against the transfer of an IG without the completion of his three-year tenure. The Sindh government had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the judgment of the high court. However, the apex court dismissed the appeal in March 2018 and ordered the Sindh government to implement SHC judgment regarding reforms in police law.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2019.