LG secretary says election commission violated Section 10, Schedule-I, Part-C of the Sindh Local Government Act
The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued on Wednesday notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on the provincial government’s petition challenging the proposal to create new constituencies ahead of the local government (LG) elections.
The LG secretary had approached the court challenging the proposals made by the provincial election commission to the chief secretary to create over 90 new UCs in 15 districts by shifting urban areas into rural UCs and wards ahead of the LG polls.
Advocate Farooq H Naek, who represented the provincial government, said the election commission made these proposals in a letter sent to the chief secretary on September 23 and September 29.
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According to the LG secretary, the election commission has violated provisions of Section 10, Schedule-I, Part-C of the Sindh Local Government Act, whereby the population of a union council should be between 10,000 and 15,000. In case of the newly proposed union councils, Mithiani has a population of 22,199, Khair Shah has 18,267 people, Abdul Hasan 17,690, he said. Many other UCs have been newly created and certain areas excluded or included in the limits of councils are a violation of Section 10(1) of the Act, he added.
The secretary felt that the proposal will disturb the election process and subsequently delay the LG elections scheduled to be held on October 30, November 19 and December 3 in different parts of Sindh. Due to the creation of new councils, alterations and the addition of areas in certain councils, the contesting candidates will lose their interest, thus many areas will have no candidates, he said, adding that the Sindh election commission had not obtained formal approval of the chief election commissioner.
Naek argued that such an exercise, if not stopped, will serve to disenfranchise the people of that particular area and deprive them from the right of electing their own LG representative. Besides, he argued, the new proposed constituencies are also in blatant disregard to the delimitation act since no territorial and population compactness as well as public convenience has been considered. The commission has not only violated the court judgment but has started fresh delimitation in constituencies, which are not even disputed under the previous litigation, he said. It has carved out new constituencies without having permission of the court, he added.
The court was pleaded to declare the proposal unlawful and liable to be struck down. It was also requested to suspend the operation of the proposals until the final decision. The bench issued notices to the chief election commissioner and others for Thursday (today). A notice was also issued to the deputy attorney-general to file comments of the ECP and provincial election commission chiefs.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2015.