Delimitations case: SHC seeks comments from top officials

June 15, 2015 Off By Web Desk

KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday issued notice to Sindh chief secretary, local government secretary, law secretary and provincial election commissioner to file comments on a petition against Sindh government’s powers to carry out delimitations for the local government elections.

Sindh United Party (SUP) through its president Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah approached the court, challenging certain sections of Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2015, under which Sindh government has been empowered to carry out the exercise of delimitation of union councils and wards for the local government elections and appointment of assistant commissioners, mukhtiarkars and other Sindh government officials as delimitation officers, district returning officers, and returning officers.

Sindh government retained the powers to undertake the task of delimitations itself for political motives, the petitioner alleged, adding the ruling party wanted to win the local government elections through gerrymandering and unlawful means.

The counsel for petitioner submitted that Sindh government is redrawing Tapedar circle, Talukas, sub-divisions, and divisions under section 6 of Land Revenue Act to manipulate revenue boundaries in a bid to achieve their nefarious political goals.

He argued that as per the dictum laid down by the apex court, the delimitation exercise is to be undertaken by the ECP and not by the Sindh government.

The petitioner pleaded to the court to declare the Bill’s sections empowering Sindh government to demarcate boundaries of council and wards instead of the ECP as unconstitutional. The court was prayed to suspend the operation of the Bill while restraining Sindh government from demarcating councils and wards.

It was further requested to declare the appointment of assistant commissioners and Mukhtiarkars or any other government officials as delimitation officers or deputy and assistant delimitation officers, district returning officers, returning officers by the Sindh government as illegal.

The petitioner prayed to the court to issue directives for the authorities to deploy personnel of military and paramilitary force inside and outside the polling stations to be set up for local government polls.