Powers to election tribunal heads: SHC notices top officials to comment


KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday issued notices to chief secretary, secretary local government and provincial election commissioner, asking them to file comments in two identical petitions challenging notifications issued to delegate powers of election tribunal heads and delimitation officers to commissioners and deputy commissioners.

Two separate petitions were filed by Munawar Baig and Mureed Ali Shah, who named the chief secretary, secretary local government and provincial election commissioner as respondents. Both petitioners submitted that Provincial Assembly promulgated Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 for the purpose of holding local bodies in the province.

He said that secretary local government issued a notification on September 26, 2013, whereby Commissioners were appointed as heads of the Election Tribunals to hear and decide appeals against proposals regarding delimitation in the province.

Subsequently on September 26, 2013, local government department issued another notification delegating powers of Delimitation Officers to deputy commissioners and they were asked to accomplish the delimitation task, they added.

The petitioners said that article 140-A of the Constitution has mandated the establishment of a local government system and ECP was to hold local government elections, while, Article 140-A(2) of the Constitution suggested that ECP was duty bound to carry out exercise of delimitation.

They argued that delimitation process is to be carried out by ECP only and not by the delimitation officers. They said that provincial government through notification had appointed delimitation officers, which is unconstitutional as it violates the constitutional mandate.

The petitioners held that commissioners were also appointed as heads of the Election Tribunals to hear and decide the appeals against proposals regarding delimitation, which was also contrary to law.

The petitioners requested the court to declare the notifications illegal, malafide, and suspend the operation of the impugned notifications.

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