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Thursday December 02, 2021

Contempt petitions: SC issues notice to Punjab govt for not restoring LGs

May 29, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) Friday issued notice to Advocate General Punjab in the contempt petitions, filed against the Punjab government for not implementing its order about restoration of the local governments (LG) system in the province.

A three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard the contempt petitions, filed by Mayor Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation Sardar Naseem Khan and Asad Ali Khan against the Punjab government.

On March 25, a three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, had restored the LG system in Punjab and declared Section 3 of the Punjab Local Bodies Act 2019 as ultra vires to the Constitution.

The court allowed petitions, challenging the Punjab Local Bodies Act 2019, which was passed by the provincial legislature in May 2019.

Asad Ali Khan and others, who were elected as mayors under the Punjab Local Government Act 2013 for a period of five years, had challenged the Punjab Local Bodies Act 2019. Their term of office was to expire on December 26, 2021; however, they stood removed under Section 3 of the Punjab Local Bodies Act 2019.

"For reasons to be recorded separately, Constitutional Petition No 48 of 2019 is allowed and Section 3 of the Punjab Local Government Act 2019 is declared to be ultra vires and the local governments as were existing in the province of Punjab prior to promulgation of the said section, stand restored and it shall complete its term in accordance with the law,” the court had announced in its short order.

On Friday, the counsel for petitioners told the court that the apex court order was dispatched to the Punjab government on March 31; however, the provincial government has not allowed any of the elected representatives yet to enter the local government offices.

The CJ asked the counsel for the petitioners as to what his clients had done thus far. “You sent only a copy of the court order to the provincial government and then sat calmly,” the CJ asked the counsel, adding that “at least you should have started your work at home.

“Even if you did not get space in offices, you should, at least, start your work. And why you need a red carpet from the government for rendering your services,” the CJ asked the counsel. “How can we start work in the absence of funds,” the counsel asked. Later, the court adjourned the matter for date-in-office (an indefinite period) after issuing notice to Advocate General Punjab.