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SC takes up issue of delay in devolving powers to LGs

SC takes up issue of delay in devolving powers to LGs

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court summoned top bureaucrats of the four provinces on Friday to explain why devolution of powers to the recently established local government institutions was being delayed by them.

The attention of the court was drawn by Advocate Raja Rab Nawaz to the provincial governments’ apathy despite the fact that the local government elections had successfully been conducted under Article 140A of the Constitution.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali ordered the chief secretaries, secretaries of local governments and as well as that of Islamabad to appear before the court along with detailed replies justifying the reasons for not granting the powers to local governments. The hearing will resume in the third week of April.

Justices Faisal Arab and Khilji Arif Hussain are the other members on the bench.




The bench had taken up a contempt of court petition against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for allegedly disobeying court’s Nov 5, 2013, decision to hold the local government elections in provinces as well as 43 cantonment boards and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

The chief justice said it was not a secret that the country continued to witness mockery in the name of democracy.

The court also noted that despite its clear directions on Jan 27, no replies had been filed by the departments concerned about the functioning or non-functioning of local governments in the provinces, cantonment boards and the ICT.

In his petition Raja Nawaz — the same individual who had petitioned the Supreme Court in 2009 as former vice president of Cantonment Board Quetta challenging the absence of local government elections in cantonment areas — claimed that the chief executive of the country had deliberately disobeyed and obstructed the earlier directions of the apex court with mala fide intention only to oblige his legislators by allocating development funds to them instead of the representatives of local governments.

The issue regarding vesting of the authority upon the local governments was being prolonged on one pretext or the other, the petition deplored, adding that under Article 140A it was the obligation of respective governments to establish the local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibilities and authority to the elected representatives.

During the proceedings, Justice Hussain asked the petitioner to go through the manifestos of political parties in which a promise had been made with people that respective parties if voted to power would hold the local government elections and vest them with the power to serve the people.

But the petitioner regretted that not a single penny till date had been spent for the development of cities by local governments.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2016

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