Published On:Thursday, 21 April 2016
Posted by Chaudhry

SC gives Balochistan two weeks to devolve powers to LG reps

SC gives Balochistan two weeks  to devolve powers to LG reps

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Balochistan government to enact a law for devolution of financial and administrative powers to local government representatives within two weeks. The court said that it would decide the case on its own if the provincial government does not comply with the orders.
The three-member bench of the SC headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali took up a contempt petition filed against the prime minister allegedly for not obeying the court orders relating to local government elections in cantonment areas of the country.
Petitioner Raja Rab Nawaz contended that the premier disobeyed the court orders with mala fide intentions. The applicant requested the bench to issue a contempt notice to the prime minister for allegedly violating the court orders relating to empowerment of local governments. He stated that not a single penny had been given to the representatives of local governments in Balochistan till now. During the course of hearing, the chief justice asked additional advocate general of Balochistan that why powers had not been transferred to local government representatives in the province despite passage of more than one year.
Justice Amir Hani Muslim observed that the court would revive the original law through an order if the provincial government does not enact a law on devolution of power. He made it clear that a person who was legally powerless could not utilise funds.
The provincial law secretary told the bench that a bill had been presented to the cabinet to give financial and administrative powers to local government representatives.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary submitted that the local government election process had been completed in the province. He said that there were three tiers of local government in the province – district councils, tehsil councils and village councils. He said the Local Government Commission was in place, powers had been transferred to the local bodies and funds had been allocated.
He said there was no role of the commissioner in the current set-up, while deputy commissioners had been attached to the system for technical assistance. He said that district nazims were approving development schemes. He said that funds had already been transferred to local government representatives.
The Islamabad Capital Territory commissioner said that 33 directorates would be transferred to mayors and this transition would take 180 days.
The additional advocate general of Punjab informed the court that the elections for the offices of mayors and deputy mayors and chairmen and vice chairmen could not be held because the Punjab Local Government Act had been challenged in the Lahore High Court. The hearing of the case was adjourned until second week of May.

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