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August 5, 2017

Govt told to explain why IGP has been stripped of powers


August 5, 2017

The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued notices to the advocate general and the chief secretary of the province on Friday on a contempt of court application challenging a recent government decision to withdraw the provincial police chief’s powers to transfer and post senior police officers.

The petitioners, including rights activists, had earlier challenged the repeal of the Police Order, 2002, (Repeal of the Police Order, 2002 & Revival of the Police Act, 1861), lack of implementation of the Police Order, 2002, and the provincial government’s decision to transfer Inspector General of Police AD Khowaja. 

On Friday, they filed a contempt of court application against the chief secretary for disobeying an interim order of the high court.  They said the court had reserved its judgment on their petition after hearing the concluding arguments of the counsel and restrained the government from transferring the IGP till the disposal of the plea.

The petitioners’ counsel submitted that during the pendency of the petition, the alleged contemnor, in order to frustrate the interim order of the court, had withdrawn the IGP’s powers to transfer and post senior police officers, including SPs, SSPs and DIGs, and had thus violated the Police Act, 1861. 

He further said that through the impugned notifications issued on July 10, 11 and 17, senior police officers were transferred without the consent of the police chief, and that was not only contempt of the court but also a violation of the Police Act, 1861.

He contended that the judgment in the present case had been reserved by the court, but these were extraordinary circumstances which involved criminal subversion of the court orders, leading to a completely dysfunctional and politicised police. This, he added, was also a threat to law and order in the province; therefore, the court should take notice of such illegality and pass appropriate orders against alleged contemnors for disobeying its orders.

After the preliminary hearing of the application, the SHC issued notices to the advocate general and others, and called their comments within a week.


  Plea against SSWMB


The SHC adjourned the hearing of a petition, filed by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement against the constitution of the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) and its law, on the request of the provincial government till August 15. 

A provincial law officer had sought the adjournment as the advocate general was engaged in the Supreme Court.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Farooq Sattar, Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar and others submitted in the petition that the board had failed to perform its duties to collect and dispose of garbage in the city and instead it had outsourced its functions to a Chinese firm.

They said staff of the district municipal corporation were inducted into the board and given to the Chinese firm for working instead of using that workforce for the collection of garbage under their respective DMCs, which already had infrastructure. 

They observed that the constitution of the SSWMB was illegal in the presence of the KMC and the DMCs, and that it had failed to remove garbage from the city and its failure was causing citizens to suffer from several diseases. They also sought an audit of the board and transfer of its funds to the local governments.  

The local government secretary however submitted that the petition was not maintainable with regard to the Supreme Court (SC) observation about the dissolution of the SWMB as the provincial government had filed a review application in the SC to extent the dissolution of the board. 

He maintained that the SC had appointed a commission to implement its order and no direction could be sought from the SHC in deviation of the mechanism laid down by the apex court for the implementation of its order.

He submitted that the Supreme Court did not hold the SSWMB ultra vires of the constitution and left the matter at the discretion of the provincial assembly to decide. He submitted that Article 140-A of the constitution had been fully implemented and that article does not put any fetters on the province to legislate in any respect of any subject relating to local governments.

He said the SWMB did not usurp the powers of local councils and two councils of Karachi entered into an agreement with the SWMB to dispose of solid waste in a scientific and organised manner.