ISLAMABAD-The Supreme Court of Pakistan will on Monday (today) resume its hearing in the petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan seeking directions for the PPP-led Sindh government to devolve powers to the local government (LG) institutions of the province in view of various provisions of the Constitution. 

A three-member special bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed will conduct hearing of the case wherein the Supreme Court registrar’s office already issued notices to the Attorney General and Advocate General of Sindh. 

The petition – moved by the PTI through its senior leader Asad Umar last month adopted that the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 does not take into account Article 140-A as well as articles 3, 4, 9, 14, 16, 17, 19, 19A and 25 of the Constitution.  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Asad Umar Federal Minister for Planning and Development, filed the petition under Article 184(3) of Constitution and cited federation through Secretary Cabinet, Secretary Ministry of Finance, Chief Secretary, Sindh, Secretary, Local Government, Sindh, Secretary, Sindh Assembly, Secretary Finance, Sindh and Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarians as respondents.  In this matter, the petitioner prayed to the Supreme Court to declare Sections 74 and 75 of the Act of 2013 as well as Section 18 of the Sindh Buildings Control Ordinance, 1979 ultra vires the Constitution, void ab initio and of no legal effect. 

The petitioner said that the purposes of devolution of powers to local government institutions is to fulfil the requirements of Article 140-A as well as Articles 3, 4, 9, 14, 16, 17,19, 19A and 25 of the Constitution. They further prayed to the apex court to pass directions to the respondents to release all the funds due and payable to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation including the release of its share of Octroi Zila Tax (OZT) alongwith markup and additional markup. 

He prayed to the Supreme Court to declare that the provision of water and sewerage being basic municipal functions be devolved to the local government. They requested the apex court to pass such interim orders for the purposes of devolution of powers to local government institutions for the compliance of Article 140-A of the Constitution in letter and spirit. 

The petitioner said that the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 and certain allied laws have been passed which are in utter violation of Articles 140-A and 32 of the Constitution and directly infringe upon and violate the fundamental rights of the people of Sindh enshrined therein to have a true representative local government fully equipped with the necessary political, administrative and financial powers to carry on the works and functions of local government. The certain provisions of the Act of 2013 are ultra vires the Constitution. 

He added that the Act of 2013, particularly Sections 74 and 75 thereof, are in total violation of Article 140-A of the Constitution and the various judgments of the Supreme Court in as much as the total administrative and financial control of local government has been kept by the Province whereas the local authorities have only been created as a sham without any real functions or financial power. 

He stated that the main reason for the Karachi problems is that the local body institutions have not been allowed to be established and the principle of Article 140-A of the Constitution, in which political, administrative and financial powers are to be devolved upon local bodies, is not being implemented. As a result, the lives of millions of people of Karachi and other areas of Sindh are being threatened.