Sunday December 10, 2023

After PSP, PTI also challenges local government amendment bill in SHC

December 04, 2021
After PSP, PTI also challenges local government amendment bill in SHC

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Friday challenged in the Sindh High Court (SHC) the bill recently passed by the Sindh Assembly to amend the Sindh Local Government Act.

A few days earlier, the Pak Sarzameen Party had also challenged the bill in the SHC terming it against various articles of the constitution. On Friday, PTI MPAs Haleem Adil Sheikh, who is also the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, and Khurrum Sher Zaman submitted in the petition that the Sindh government had placed a bill to make amendments in the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 (SLGA 2013), which was against the spirit of the Constitution, especially its Article 140-A.

The PTI leaders maintained in their plea that the amendment bill was contrary to the articles 7,8,32 and 140-A of the Constitution and the Sindh government intended to grab all the powers of the local government, which was the third tier of government.

They submitted that the status of city of Karachi had been undermined in the bill as the city was brought to the level of an ordinary city which, otherwise, was a jewel in the crown of Sindh generating more than 80 per cent of the total revenue of the province.

The PTI legislators submitted that through the amendment bill, the Sindh government had taken absolute rights over the province. They submitted that the schedule-II, part-1 sub-clause 5, 12 and 13 had been omitted from the SLGA 2013, which were related to medical colleges, hospitals, milk supply schemes, control of land owned by the metropolitan corporation and removal of encroachments, which clearly showed that the respondents had committed violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens of Karachi.

They added that that Sindh government also wanted to snatch the local bodies’ powers pertaining to issuing birth, death and marriage certificates, controlling infectious diseases and adult education.

The petitioners argued that all these amendments clearly indicated that the provincial government intended to usurp the fundamental rights of the people of Sindh guaranteed by the Constitution.

The PTI leaders submitted that the provincial government also made amendments in the procedure of electing mayors and deputy mayors, changing the show of hands with secret balloting. They said secret balloting had always been used for horse trading or to change the result in favour of a particular candidate.

The petitioners argued that it was necessary that the selection of the mayor and deputy mayor was done by the way of showing hands in a joint session of the city council. They submitted that the impugned bill was in violation of the articles 7, 8, 32 and 140-A of the Constitution. The SHC was requested to declare the amendment bill void due to being against the dictum laid down in the articles 7, 8, 32 and 140-A of the Constitution.