Thursday June 13, 2024

SHC seeks Sindh govt’s comments on plea seeking LG empowerment

By Jamal Khurshid
September 23, 2023

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday directed a provincial law officer to file comments on a petition of elected town municipal corporations (TMCs) chairmen belonging to the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and its city chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman seeking powers to exercise administrative, financial and political authority in their respective jurisdictions under the Sindh Local Government Act (SLGA).

The petitioners said they had taken oath after the local government elections that had been held after a delay of more than two years. They added that despite having sufficient time during the past couple of years, the provincial government did not take any initiative for the constitution of union committees (UCs) and town administration, and their functioning under the SLGA.

They said that all TMC chairmen had practically been rendered powerless by the appointments of transition officers who were given full administrative and financial powers to use funds. For all practical purposes, the old system was still operative, as grants were being disbursed in the old accounts of the defunct district municipal corporations and UCs, the petitioners maintained.

The high court was requested to declare that the elected TMCs and UCs were fully empowered to exercise administrative, financial and political authority as per the command of the constitution, and that the suspension of their powers due to amendments to the SLGA was unlawful and ultra vires the constitution. The SHC was also requested to strike down the amendment with regard to the transition officers in TMCs, and direct the provincial government to facilitate all the elected town and UC chairmen in performing their administrative and financial duties as per the law and the constitution.

The provincial law officer submitted that additional documents of the petitioners had not been received therefore comments could not be prepared. He sought time to file comments.

A counsel of the petitioner undertook to file the additional documents during the course of the day, after which a division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed directed the law officer to file comments by October 13.