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October 15, 2019

SHC calls comments on petition challenging new police law


October 15, 2019

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has issued notices to the federal and provincial governments, chief secretary and Sindh inspector general of police (IGP) on a petition challenging vires of the newly introduced Sindh police law and conferment of the power regarding transfers and postings of police officers to the chief minister.

The petition sought implementation of various provisions of the Sindh (Repeal of the Police Act 1861 and Revival of Police Order 2002 ) Amendment Act 2019 and challenged the sections 13 and 15 of the law, under which the authority to transfer and post police officers had been vested in the CM.

The petitioners, Jibran Nasir and other rights activists and organisations, had submitted in the petition that the Sindh government had promulgated the police law but violated directions of the SHC that directed the provincial government to ensure that the tenure of the Sindh IGP was not less than three years.

They had submitted that the Sindh government established the provincial public safety and police complaints commission however the composition of the aforesaid commission made it clear that the government had formed it in bad intention as it attempted to politicise the Sindh police because certain members of the commission, especially former information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, were controversial figures.

It was claimed in the petition that the appointment of controversial members in the commission made it evident that the Sindh government desired to politicise the police and destroy its independence.

The petitioners had submitted that the SHC in its September 7, 2017 judgment had held that the autonomy of command and the independence of the police, which essentially and necessarily includes dominant control over the transfers and postings of all police officers, could only be ensured if the IGP had autonomy of command and independence in matters of the transfers and postings of police officers.

The high court was requested to declare the Section 13 of the police Act to be unlawful and direct the IGP to strictly abide by the earlier SHC judgment in relation to the appointment of additional IGs and DIGs. The petitioners asked the SHC to rule that notifications of all the postings of the police high-ups were to be issued by the IGP.

The petitioners had further requested the high court to declare that any order of the CM and the provincial government under the Section 15 of the Act regarding the postings and transfers of DIGs and SSPs was not binding upon the IGP and the consultation of the police chief in police officers’ appointments was mandatory.

The SHC was also requested to direct the Sindh government to fully implement the sections 37 to 48 of the law that deal with the police complaints commission and remove controversial members from the commission.

The petitioners also asked the high court to direct the government to ensure the financial autonomy of the Sindh police under the IGP and timely release of legitimate funds for the functioning and development of the Sindh police.

The SHC has directed the provincial and federal governments, chief secretary, home secretary and IGP to file comments on the petition by October 17.

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