LHC hears petition against Punjab Local Govt delimitation rules
March 9, 2022 08:58 PM
The Lahore High Court (LHC) Wednesday heard a petition against Punjab Local Government (Delimitation of Neighbourhood Councils and Village Councils) Rules 2022, asking the assistant advocate general to appear before the court again with clear directions from Punjab government.
Justice Muzammil Akhtar Shabbir conducted hearing of the petition filed by a citizen named Muhammad Suleiman.
Assistant Advocate General Barrister Hassan Khalid Ranjha appeared on behalf of the Punjab government.
The petitioner’s counsel contended that under the Election Act 2017, it was the prerogative of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to frame delimitation rules.
“Only the ECP has the power to make delimitation rules under Sections 10 and 213 of the Local Government Ordinance,” said the petitioner’s counsel.
“But the Local Government secretary alone framed the Punjab Local Government (Delimitation of Neighbourhood Councils and Village Councils) Rules 2022,” he maintained.
“Who is then authorised to frame the rules if the Local Government secretary is not?” Justice Muzammil Akhtar Shabbir questioned the petitioner’s counsel. “This is the ECP’s jurisdiction,” he replied.
“Which provision of the Constitution bars the Local Government secretary from interfering in it?” the LHC judge questioned further.
The lawyer replied that the delimitation rules 2022 were made in violation of Article 218 of the Constitution. “The population of the areas was also not taken into account during demarcation of the constituencies,” he added.
“You are giving a reference to the Local Government Act which is not subject to the Constitution,” the LHC judge said to the lawyer.
The judge also asked the assistant advocate general to say his word upon which he read out the court decision and said: “If the petitioner has any objection, he can file an election petition.”
At this, the court adjourned the hearing asking the assistant advocate general to appear on next hearing with clear directions from the Punjab government.