SC throws out review application of ECP seeking delay in delimitation process

Karachi: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday threw out a review application filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan ECP seeking deferring the process of electoral delimitation of constituencies in Karachi.

A larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, was seized with the of Karachi law and order suo moto implementation case at the apex court’s Karachi registry. Other members of bench were Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Sarmad Jalal Usmani, Gulzar Ahmed and Athar Saeed.

At the outset of the hearing, the court took up the application moved by the ECP regarding delimitations in the Karachi.

Muneer Paracha, representing Election Commission of Pakistan ECP held the stance before the court that as per Article 51 and its sub clauses of Delimitation of Constituencies Act, 1974 there were legal hurdles that are preventing from undertaking exercise of the redrawing of constituencies in Karachi. He pointed out that the absence of fresh census made impossible to implement the apex court’s judgment.

Brushing aside his contention, Justice Jamali said that this Article only related to the allocation of seats in provincial assemblies and National Assembly; it had nothing to do with delimitation.

Justice Khilji remarked we did not want increase or decrease in the seats of city. Though, he declared that exercise of delimitation can be carried out in absence of census.

Justice Jamali remarked that constituencies in Karachi should be delimited in a manner that they comprise mixed population. He went on say that section 9 of the Delimitation of Constituencies Act, 1974 empowered ECP to delimit the constituencies for national and provincial assemblies having regard to the distribution of population in geographically and keeping in view existing boundaries of administrative units.

Paracha stated that keeping in view of the Supreme Court judgment ECP held several meetings with the all stakeholders in this regard. He said that proposal of the meetings has come against the SC’s verdict. In response the court replied that ECP did not need any proposal to discharge its legal duty.

Counsel for ECP could not satisfy the court about ECP’s stance over the delimitation in the city. He said that delimitation of constituencies in Karachi was not possible as general elections are round the corner. He said that if such exercise is undertaken by ECP now it might delay the elections. Therefore he pleaded to court defer process of delimitation in the city.

The court said that it won’t allow anybody to say a word about any delay in elections. It said that it is duty of ECP to hold free and fair elections. The court observed that if constituencies in the city were not delimited the dream of free and fair election would remain elusive. It dismissed the ECP’s application.

IGP Sind Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari submitted a report containing names of 800 such police officials who are nominated in involved in criminal cases and are facing trials in the court. He also submitted that all such officers facing criminal trials have already been sacked.

In response to showcause notice issued to the inspector general of police for concealing the facts regarding two senior superintendents of police SSPs were still heading the district police despite being named in FIRs of murder cases, he tendered apology to court. The court accepted his apology and discharged the showcause notice.

Secretary transport department, Nisar Ahmed Kalhoro informed court that summary to amend Motor Vehicle Ordinance MVO 1965, for enhancing penalties imposed on traffic offenders has been sent to law department to pass such into law on February 22. The court in order to ascertain his statement directed him to call summary from law department and submit same in the court in half an hour.

The larger bench became visibly irked when it knew that simple change has been brought into fine. It said that fine of Rs100 has been increased to Rs200, Rs50 to 150, and Rs200 to Rs400. The court came down hard on secretary saying it will not discourage traffic violators. It said that maximum fine should be up to rupees five thousand.

Expressing dissatisfaction over summary to amend Motor Vehicle Ordinance, the court directed the transport secretary to make fresh and updated summary in three days from today.

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