ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed said Monday the Sindh government has the power to resolve the issue of devolving powers to local bodies and that the Supreme Court cannot interfere in the affairs of the Sindh province and also ask others. federation units to implement Article 140-A of the Constitution.
This observation was provided by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court while presiding over a three-member trial from a panel of supreme judges who listened to a series of identical petitions submitted by MQM, PTI and PML-N seeking empowerment of local bodies in accordance with Article 140-A of the Constitution.
Judge Gulzar said the top court would not be part of the dispute between the local government and the Sindh government. He said that it was the mandate of the high court concerned to assess whether regional regulations conform to the spirit of the Constitution.
How the court can issue a decision without hearing the opinions of all provincial governments should be implemented across the country, said the chief judge.
Speaking to Sindh’s lawyer, Judge Ijaz ul Ahsan asked if he wanted the highest court to announce the ultra vires Sindh Regional Government Law of the Constitution and declare it null and void. He said other provinces were not involved in instant disputes at all and courts could not handle such a minor issue.
The federal government on Monday asked the Supreme Court to set guidelines for all provinces, ensuring the devolution of powers to local governments in accordance with Article 140-A of the Constitution.
After hearing MQM’s attorney, the court defended its verdict on the petition but asked him and other lawyers for the petitioners and Advocate General Sindh Salman Talibuddin to submit written arguments at the next trial.
Appearing in the notification, Pakistani Attorney General Khalid Javed conveyed that he does not represent any party on the matter, but that the highest court must decide on the matter, as doing so can resolve some of the problems facing local governments. He asked the Supreme Court to set guidelines, which could be accepted by all provinces adding that so far the court had not established any rules relating to local government functions.
He asked the apex court to make guidelines for all provinces related to the delegation of authority to local government agencies to comply with the provisions of Article 140-A of the Constitution.
The Attorney General argued that the provincial government could not enact laws that were disgusting to the constitution and laws and deprived minority parties of their rights.
Earlier, Lawyer Salahuddin Ahmed, MQM adviser, via video link from the Karachi Registry, argued that their petition was related to the powers delegated to local governments as well as provincial governments, adding that the manifestos of all political parties had clearly mentioned devolution of power to the local level, but in fact this authority has not been given.
He said that the control of buildings, water supply, local transportation, solid waste and sewerage that would be managed by the Karachi City Company had been taken over by the provincial government.
He said local governments in the province were only given the task of taking care of matters relating to parks and libraries.
He argued that all powers taken over by the provincial government regarding these facilities should be delegated to the local government / council as guaranteed by the Constitution in Article 140-A.
He appealed to the court to revoke Sections 74 and 75 of the 2013 Law and Section 18 of the 1979 Sindh Building Control Act to become ultra vires and void ab initio. Supreme Judge Gulzar Ahmed observed that the mayor of Karachi was witnessed several times inaugurating public transport but the buses disappeared the next day.
It seems the mayor failed to deliver it, so power was taken back from him, he said. “Are you entitled to claim this power in view of your performance,” CJP asked of the MQM advisor.
Judge Ijazul Ahsen observed that the court had ruled that the application of Article 140-A was compulsory, therefore the provinces had to implement Article 140-A.
Meanwhile, Salman Talibuddin, Advocate General Sindh, also via video link, pleaded with the court to cancel the instant petition, saying that in accordance with Article 140-A of the Constitution, it is up to the provincial assembly as to which powers can be given to the court. provincial government and local agencies.
Meanwhile, the court reserved the verdict on the MQM petition and asked the other party’s attorney to submit a written synopsis and argument in addition to asking the advocate general Sindh to help him and postponing the trial for the date in office (indefinite period).
PTI, MQM, PML-N, and others have challenged the Sindh Regional Government Law (SLGA) which calls for directions for the provincial government to hand over power to local agencies in the province taking into account Articles 140-A as well as Articles 3, 4, 9 , 14, 16, 17, 19, 19-A and 25 of the Constitution.
They have also prayed for the top court to announce Articles 74 and 75 of the 2013 Law as well as Section 18 of the 1979 Sindh Building Control Act ultra vires of the Constitution and void ab initio.