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January 21, 2020

SHC stops Sindh government from surrendering services of IGP Sindh

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January 21, 2020

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday ordered that services of the IGP Sindh shall not be surrendered by the Sindh government without consultation of the federal government in terms of Article 12(2) of the Sindh (Repeal of the Police Act 1861 and Revival of Police Order 2002) (Amendment) Act 2019. The interim order came on a petition filed by the civil rights activists that sought enforcement of the newly-introduced police law that guarantees three-year tenure and posting of the IGP Sindh.

Petitioner's counsel Faisal Siddiqui submitted that the Sindh provincial cabinet had decided to recall or surrender the services of the IGP Sindh Kaleem Imam on January 15 without any consultation with the federal government.

He submitted that Article 12(2) of the Act clearly provides that the term of IGP Sindh shall be three yearsand as per the appointment of IGP, the tenure of the IGP Sindh shall end in September 2021 while he can only be removed or recalled before the term of three years by the provincial government -- if decision of the provincial government is taken in substantive consultation with the federal government. He submitted that there was no evidence to suggest that any substantial consultation had taken place between the federal government and the provincial government on the issue as the provincial government’s letter itself made no reference to any such substantive consultation.

He argued that the federal government, through its letter on January 17, had clearly stated that the federal government had only received the request of the provincial government, which is yet to be decided by the federal government. This also proves that substantive consultation is yet to take place. He submitted that the federal government also communicated to the provincial government that 'look after' charge of the IGP's post cannot be assigned to any additional IG working in the province being not covered under the inter-provincial agreement 1993. Also, in case the competent authority decides to transfer the IGP Sindh, a stopgap arrangement can only be made by the competent authority.

He submitted that the federal government’s letter also communicated that the issue of recall of IGP and posting of his replacement as requested by the Sindh government was being taken up with the competent authority and the decision of the same will be communicated to the Sindh government. He said that the Sindh government was communicated that the incumbent IGP Sindh shall continue to discharge his duties as unilateral repatriation of IGP and "look after" charges of the post cannot be assigned to any additional IGP by the Government of Sindh.

He submitted that the Sindh cabinet's decision on recalling the services of the IGP Sindh was illegal and violative of Article 12 (2) of the Police Act 2019 and impugned cabinet decision and letter are liable to be set aside.

The federal and provincial law officers requested some time to reply. Additional advocate general Ghulam Shabbir Shah submitted that no action in violation of Article 12 (2) of Sindh Police Act will be taken by the Sindh government. He said that neither the services of IGP Sindh had been surrendered or suspended nor he had been removed. Regarding surrendering the service of IGP Sindh, he said that the Sindh government has already communicated to the federal government and consultation process has been started.

The SHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar after preliminary hearing of the petition, issued notices to federal and provincial governments and directed them to file replies before the next date of hearing. The court in meantime ordered that services of IGP Sindh shall not be surrendered without consultation of the federal government in terms of Article 12(2) of the Police Act and adjourned the hearing till January 28.