SC directs ECP to expedite Punjab LG polls preparations

* Wants completion of electoral process, including polling, by or before Nov 15

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to make early arrangements for the holding of local body (LB) elections in Punjab. 
The apex court also reminded the ECP of its constitutional responsibility to hold free, fair and transparent elections in the country. It directed the ECP in its detailed judgement into the Punjab LB case that this exercise should be conducted within the next five months. The apex court also directed the commission to take all possible measures to carry out the process of delimitation of the constituencies for the local government elections and complete the exercise within a period of 45 days.
In its judgement the Supreme Court directed the ECP to ensure completion of electoral process, from the announcement of elections schedule to polling, by or before November 15. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani said holding the elections in the country was the prime responsibility of the ECP. The detailed judgement also directed necessary amendments in Punjab Local Government Law 2013. CJP Jillani authored the 13-page judgement.
The apex court said in its judgement that in terms of Article 140 -A of the constitution, the ECP had been mandated to organise and conduct the election and make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly and fairly in accordance with law. The judgement dictated that Sections 8 to 10 of the Punjab Local Government Act, 2013 and the relevant rules framed there-under are ultra vires of the constitution in so far as they empower the provincial government to carry out the delimitation of the constituencies for the local government.
The apex court maintained that since the delimitation of constituencies of the local government is part of the process of organising and holding elections honestly, justly and fairly, which is the constitutional mandate of the ECP, so the power to carry out such delimitation should vest with the ECP. Holding of the LG election had been delayed for more than nine years, which is a violation of the constitution. The apex court has directed the federal and provincial governments to carry out appropriate amendments/legislation to empower the ECP to initiate and carry out the process of delimitation of constituencies for the LG elections.

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