Taking up the plea on Monday, a two-member bench, comprising Justice Irfan Saadat Khan and Justice Adnanul Karim Memon, warned that the case would be forwarded to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) if irregularities are found in the payment of allowances.
As the hearing began, bachelors of dental surgery (BDS) doctors earned the court's ire on crowding the courtroom.
The bench questioned why the dentists were attending the hearing when their counsel was present. Were they not aware of the seriousness of the coronavirus, rebuked the court.
The bench expelled the doctors from the courtroom and directed them not to appear again.
"Why don't KMC employees get allowances when Sindh government employees do," inquired Justice Khan, resuming the hearing. Such discriminatory behaviour will not be permitted, he remarked.
Following this, the bench directed that the local government secretary be made party in the case.
During the hearing, the KMC's counsel argued that the out-patient department for dentists has been closed. Why then are the dentists demanding the health risk allowance, he asked.
At this, the court asked if doctors at dental colleges were not risking their lives.
Warning that the case would be forwarded to NAB if irregularities are found, the court directed the relevant authorities to clear the unpaid dues of the BDS doctors and sought replies from the KMC and local government secretary.
Last month, the KMDC was temporarily sealed reportedly after a commotion was witnessed when non-teaching staff were enraged over the non-payment of their dues. As tensions continued to heighten, a three-member committee, led by a KMDC professor, was constituted to look into the matter.
Meanwhile, a two-member bench, comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito, sought arguments on the maintainability of a petition challenging the Sindh High Court's verdict in the Arzoo case.
The petitioner's counsel argued that the restriction on marrying a girl below the age of 18 years was contrary to Sharia law.
Arzoo, a teenage Christian girl was allegedly abducted before being forcibly converted to Islam and wedded to a 44-year-old Muslim man. The SHC had ruled that the marriage was illegal after a medical board, constituted by the court, concluded that Arzoo was around 14 to 15 years of age. The court had subsequently recognised National Database and Regulatory Authority (NADRA) documents stating that Arzoo was 13-years-old and had declared the marriage illegal based on the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013.
Arzoo has since been residing in a shelter home on judicial orders.
During the hearing on Monday, the court sought arguments from the petitioner's counsel on the jurisdiction of federal laws and asked the counsel to assist the court on whether this case fell under the ambit of the high court or the Sharia court.
Referring the counsel to the latter court, the bench adjourned the hearing indefinitely.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2021.