SLGA amendments: Sindh challenges SHC verdict in apex court

Lawyer questions SHC division bench authority to nullify delimitation.


Naeem Sahoutara January 05, 2014
Lawyer questions SHC division bench authority to nullify delimitation. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI:


The Sindh government on Saturday challenged a high court ruling against the delimitation process ahead of the upcoming local government (LG) elections in the province under the controversial amendments to the Sindh Local Government Act (SLGA) 2013.


The government filed a civil petition at the Karachi Registry of the apex court, seeking grant of leave to appeal against the Sindh High Court (SHC)’s Dec 30 verdict on as many as 17 petitions filed by political parties and former legislators.

The appeal was jointly filed on the behalf of the provincial chief secretary, local government secretary, provincial census commissioner, Karachi commissioner and deputy commissioners of the city’s five districts. It named the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), its deputy convener Dr Farooq Sattar and the Election Commission of Pakistan as respondents.

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In the appeal, Shiraz Iqbal Chaudhry, the government lawyer on record, questioned the authority of the SHC’s division bench to nullify the delimitation process for the LG elections scheduled for Jan 18 and whether such orders are sustainable in the law and facts of the case.

Chaudhry said the chief secretary and the local governments department had enacted the SLGA 2013, then the first amendment to the act, while the second and third amendments were also made to the Sindh Local Government Ordinance (SLGO) 2013. The second and the third amendments to the ordinance were laid before the provincial assembly which subsequently endorsed them on Dec 20.

The government said some provisions of the third amendment to the SLGO 2013 were challenged before a division bench of the SHC by the way of filing petitions on which the impugned judgment was passed.

According to the government, the suggestion made by the SHC for the creation of a commission for delimitation is “unprecedented, unwarranted and uncalled for”.

“The delimitation is an executive function and even when done for National Assembly and provincial assemblies, the executive machinery is relied upon and not the ECP, which does not have the workforce, machinery and capacity to carry out such exercise.”

The government further stated that the SHC’s observation/directions are not sustainable in light of Section 160 of the SLGA 2013. It pleaded the court grant leave to appeal against the petitioners and suspend the operation of the Dec 26 decision of the SHC.

Meanwhile, the MQM has also filed an application with the SC Karachi Registry, requesting the apex court to allow the party to join the proceedings. It appealed to the court to pass its judgment on the Sindh government’s plea after hearing it.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2014. 

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