ISLAMABAD - The Sindh government has claimed that the Sindh High Court’s judgment also abolished election of women and youth on reserved seats in the district and metropolitan councils.

A Supreme Court’s three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, on Wednesday heard the Sindh government’s appeal against the Sindh High Court’s detailed judgment.

The PPP-led Sindh government through the third amendment in the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 had replaced the secret balloting with a show of hands for the election of mayors and deputy mayors.

However, the SHC on identical petitions of Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional declared the amendment void and ultra vires. The Sindh government challenged the verdict in the top court, which granted stay against the order on February 17.

The Sindh government counsel Farooq H Naek informed that the SHC declared the clause B & C of sub-clause 2 of Section 18 of the SLGA 2016 null and void, adding the high court had no jurisdiction to strike down the legislation passed by the parliament or the provincial assembly. “The entire order suffered from grave infirmity,” he said. The SHC had not provided the mode of election of the women and the youth on reserved seats,” he added.

“Without the prayer and the arguments of petitioners the judgment declared the third amendment in SLGA 2013 ultra vires and also provided any reason to strike down the section 18A of the Act.”

He further argued that instead of declaring the notification, which was issued to hold election of mayor and deputy mayor through show of hand, the SHC declared the 3rd Amendment to SLGA void. He said the SHC judgment was in violation of Article 226 and 140A of the Constitution.

He argued that without the election of women, youth, labour, peasant the election process of the local bodies would not be completed and also the election of mayor and deputy could not be held.

The Sindh govt counsel alleged that the short order and the detailed judgment of the SHC don’t match each other. He said in the original Local Government Act the election of chairman and vice-chairman of Union and District Municipal Corporation was through show of hands.

Farooq H Nakek earlier informed that six petitions were filed in the Sindh High Court, adding the high court order is the copy-paste of the prayer of the relief sought by the petitioners, while in the end of the order the Election Commission of Pakistan was directed to hold elections of mayor and deputy of the councils through secret ballots.

He said that the first amendment in the Act was made in March 2015, while the final amendment done in January 2016. However, the entire arguments of the petitioners revolved around the third amendment in the Act 2013, adding through third amendment 5 per cent representation was reserved in the council, while the women seats were increased from 22 to 33 per cent.

The case was adjourned till Monday.