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Sindh governor returns newly-passed police bill to PA

National

May 31, 2019

KARACHI: Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has returned the bill passed by the Sindh Assembly earlier this month to repeal the Police Act 1861 and revive the Police Order 2002 for reconsideration of the provincial legislature, raising objections that the newly passed bill was entirely different from the original Police Order 2002 and it also negated several directions of the courts regarding the administration and supervision of the provincial police force.

In this regard, the governor signed a five-page summary on Wednesday, which read that in exercise of his power under the Article 116(2b) of the Constitution, he was returning the Sindh (Repeal of the Police Act, 1861 and Revival of the Police Order, 2002) Amendment Bill 2019 to the Sindh Assembly for reconsideration.

Ismail appreciated the fact that the provincial government wanted to change the 158-year-old Police Act of 1861, with the objective of introducing reforms in the police force, thereby ensuring an independent, accountable, and autonomous police without any political interference in its affairs. He, however, stated that the proposed bill was not achieving these objectives.

The summary read that the Police Order 2002 was a federal law and a judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan had established the concurrent jurisdiction of the Police Order. “It is a settled principle of law that the provincial assemblies can make minor changes in the federal statute to adjust it to the local needs. Here, the Sindh Assembly has passed a bill, which is in fact, not revival of the Police Order 2002 but it is inconsistent with [the] original Police Order 2002.”

The governor also referred to the Article 143 of the Constitution which reads, “If any provision of an Act of a Provincial Assembly is repugnant to any provision of an Act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) which Majlis-e-Shoora is competent to enact, then the Act of Majlis-e-Shoora whether passed before or after the Act of the Provincial Assembly, shall prevail and the Act of the Provincial Assembly, shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, be void.”

The governor objected to the process for the appointment of the inspector general of police (IGP) in the newly passed bill.

“Surprisingly, it requires the federal government to propose a panel of three officers to the provincial government for posting as Inspector General of Police Sindh,” the governor wrote, arguing that it was in violation of the original Police Order 2002 and was also against the well-established practice and understanding between the federal and provincial governments after which the notification of the appointment of the IGP was issued by the Establishment Division and the cabinet secretariat, not the provincial government.

Ismail added that the procedure for the removal of the IGP in the new bill was again inconsistent with the judgment of the Sindh High Court that gave a three-year tenure to the IGP and ruled against any arbitrary removal of the provincial police chief, except on compelling grounds. “This provision requires to be reconsidered to avoid inconsistency with the judgment,” the governor wrote.

“Attention of the honourable members of the Sindh Assembly must be drawn to the paras 101 (h) and 101 (i) of the (court) judgment, which said ‘the Inspector General must have independent control insofar as postings and transfers are considered, thus putting an end to all kind of external influence even by provincial government. Sections 13, 15, 17, and 20 of the Bill are against what has been held in the said judgment,” the summary read.

The governor also objected to the fact that the new bill did not even give the powers of the transfers and postings of deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) to the IGP. “This indicates the intention of the bill is not to empower the Inspector General but to render him powerless.”

The governor also mentioned that as many as 82 sections of the Police Order 2002 had been deleted in the newly passed bill.

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