SC restores local government system in Punjab

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ISLAMABAD, March 25 (Online): Supreme Court (SC ) while declaring section 3 of local bodies act in conflict with the constitution has restored local government system in Punjab.

A 3-member bench of SC presided over by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmad took up the case for hearing Thursday.

The CJP remarked people have elected local bodies representatives for five years. We cannot allow to send them to home on the basis of one notification. How can the government clarify that people should be kept from their elected representatives. Under article 140 law can be enacted but the institution can not be abolished. Some one has given wrong advice to the government. Government has a status whether it is federal or provincial or local government. Powers can be changed and basic structure can be improved. Is there any precedence that law be abolished and it should be said that a new law should be brought tomorrow. Are local bodies polls taking place in other provinces. As to why the statement of the attorney general be not recorded and permission be accorded to province to hold local bodies polls in May.

He observed tell us the reason as to why the local government was dissolved and under what law. Why the local government has not been restored so far.

Attorney General (AG) earlier took the plea before the court there are objections over population census in other provinces. The meeting of council of common interests was to take place on March 24 and now the meeting will be held on April 7 being the Prime Minister tested positive in corona virus. This is not only the issue of federation but also issue of the provinces.

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked the term of local government of Punjab may have expired. Earlier the local governments were dissolved for six months and then elections were announced. Then the matter was extended for 21 months. Now they are linking it to the meeting of council for common interests. Federal, provincial and local governments can be dissolved for a limited period. But you have deprived the people of their elected representatives. Were the election not held in Gilgit-Baltistan. Is it not contradiction that on one hand government wants to devolve the powers to grass root level and now it has abolished this power on its own.

Additional advocate general Punjab told the court Punjab government is ready to hold local bodies polls. Punjab government wants powers are devolved to grass roots level. The matter is pending with the council of common interests. A new political party came into power in federation and province after 2018 general election. The new government dissolved the local government system in Punjab and gave time to hold local bodies polls within a year. Punjab government made new amendment after passage of one year. Then ordinance was promulgated.

The court while declaring section 3 of the local bodies act contrary to the constitution restored local government system in Punjab.

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