LHC dismisses pleas for LG tenure extension

LG representatives had sought to include the period, they had been rendered dysfunctional, as part of their term

Hasnaat Malik December 22, 2021


The Lahore High Court (LHC) has dismissed petitions filed by the representatives of the local government, seeking to serve out their full tenures that were interrupted due to the suspension of the system by the Punjab government in May 2019.

The court has issued its detailed judgment in the Punjab local government case, wherein it turned down the writ petitions moved by Lahore’s lord mayor retired Col Mubashir Javed and representatives from different cities.

The local governments had been restored last March after a two year-long legal battle when the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment struck down their dissolution as illegal and unlawful.

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The restored representatives later moved the LHC, seeking to include the two-year period they had been rendered dysfunctional as part of their term. The detailed judgment has been announced the same week that the local governments are due to expire.

In a landmark ruling, Justice Jawad Hassan held that the word ‘term’ mentioned in Section 30(1) of the Local Governments Act of 2013 “is fixed and definite in nature”, and that the local governments’ first meeting on  January 1, 2017 meant that the logical end point, regardless of interruption, would be 31 December 2021.

The decision also affirmed the Punjab government’s controversial position that the local government’s term would come to a close just six months after their restoration, and that the petitioners could not file a writ before the LHC after they had already approached the Supreme Court.

Nawazish Pirzada, counsel for the petitioners in both the cases, had argued that the Supreme Court verdict was clear in mandating that the local governments complete their term in accordance with law, and has a legitimate expectancy to do so.

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Barrister Asad Rahim Khan, counsel for one of the local government representatives, had argued earlier that the actual occupancy of office of elected representatives had been safeguarded by the Supreme

Court judgment in the Nawaz Sharif’s case and the LHC in Pervaiz Elahi’s case, regardless of starting point and end point of term, and that the judgments were clear that the period meant time actually served in office.

The judgment in Mubashir Javed’s case removes the last legal hurdle in the way of the LG’s dissolution in Punjab on 31 December, the second time in as many years. The PTI government has not yet announced an election schedule for local bodies’ polls in the province.


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