SC throws out ECP review application seeking delay in constituencies’ delimitation

KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday threw out a review application filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking deferment in process of electoral delimitation of constituencies in Karachi.
A larger bench of the SC headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali was seized with Karachi law and order suo moto implementation case at its Karachi registry. Other members of bench were Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Sarmad Jalal Usmani, Gulzar Ahmed and Athar Saeed.

At the outset of the hearing, the court took up the application moved by ECP regarding delimitation in Karachi.

Muneer Paracha representing ECP held the stance before the court that as per Article 51 and its sub clauses of Delimitation of Constituencies Act 1974, there were legal hurdles that are preventing from undertaking exercise of the redrawing of constituencies in the city. He pointed out that the absence of fresh census made impossible to implement the apex court’s judgment.

Brushing aside his contention, Justice Jamali said that this Article only related to the allocation of seats in Provincial and National Assemblies, it had nothing to do with delimitation. Justice Khilji remarked that we did not want increase or any decrease in seats of city. Though, he declared that exercise of delimitation can be carried out in absence of census.

Justice Jamali remarked that constituencies in Karachi should be delimited in a manner that they comprise mixed population. He went on say that section 9 of the Delimitation of Constituencies Act 1974 empowered ECP to delimit the constituencies for national and provincial assemblies having regard to the distribution of population in geographically and keeping in view existing boundaries of administrative units.

Paracha stated that keeping in view SC judgment, ECP held several meetings with all stakeholders in this regard. He said that proposal of the meetings has come against the SC verdict. In response, the court replied that ECP did not need any proposal to discharge its legal duty.

Counsel for ECP could not satisfy the court about ECP stance over the delimitation in the city. He said that delimitation of constituencies in Karachi was not possible as general elections are around the corner. He said that if such exercise is undertaken by ECP now, it might delay the elections. Therefore, he pleaded to court to defer process of delimitation in the city.

The court said that it won’t allow any body to say a word about any delay in elections. It said that it is duty of ECP to hold free and fair elections. The court observed that if constituencies in the city were not delimited the dream of free and fair election would remain elusive. It dismissed ECP application.

IG Sindh Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari submitted a report containing names of 800 such police officials nominated in criminal cases and facing trials in the courts. He also apprised the court that all such officers facing criminal trials have been sacked.

In response to show-cause notice issued to IG Sindh for concealing the facts regarding two senior superintendents of police (SSPs) were still heading the district police despite being named in FIRs of murder cases, Leghari tendered apology to court and said that he did not conceal facts of two SSPs deliberately. The court accepted his apology and discharged the show-cause notice.

Secretary Transport Department, Nisar Ahmed Kalhoro, informed the court that a summary to amend Motor Vehicle Ordinance (MVO) 1965, for enhancing penalties imposed on traffic offenders, has been sent to law department on February 22 to pass such into a law. The court in order to ascertain his statement directed him to call the summary from law department and submit the same before it in half an hour.

A larger bench became visibly irked when it knew that simple change has been brought into fine. It said that fine of Rs 100 has been increased to Rs 200 while other fine of Rs 50 raised to Rs 150, and Rs 200 to Rs 400. The court came down hard on secretary as saying such fines could not discourage traffic violators. It said that maximum fine should be up to Rs 5000.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the summary to amend Motor Vehicle Ordinance, the court directed transport secretary to make fresh and updated summary within three days.

Leave a Reply