PHC warns government against LG Act changes – Pakistan

PESHAWAR: A bench in the Peshawar High Court on Thursday admitted a petition against recent amendments to the provincial Local Government Act, in particular the provisions on the powers of heads of local bodies, to the hearing.

Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim also issued a notice to the provincial attorney general asking him to respond to the petition filed by Mardan City Mayor Himayatullah Mayar at the next hearing.

The petitioner has asked the court to declare unconstitutional the KP Local Government (Amendment) Act 2022, which was enacted by the government last month.

He also sought restraining orders on the disputed changes to the law until the final disposition of the case as an interim measure.

The petitioner complains about the reduction of the powers of the heads of local bodies

The respondents in the petition are the Provincial Government through the Chief Secretary and the Secretaries of the Departments of Local Government, Law and Parliamentary Affairs.

The petitioner’s lawyer, Babar Khan Yousafzai, failed to appear in court due to the lawyers’ strike, so he pleaded his case on his own.

He said that while the KP Local Government Act 2013 clearly spells out the powers and duties of mayors of town councils and tehsil chairpersons as well as village and ward councils in the province, recent amendments to the law abolished them and declared that the heads of local bodies would exercise and perform the powers and functions prescribed by the rules.

Mr Mayar said the election of mayors and local council presidents, including himself, was conducted under the KP Local Government Act 2013 (KPLGA), which defined the mode of government local authority and the powers of elected mayors and presidents.

He stated that Section 23(A) of the KPLGA defined the powers and duties of the chairpersons of the tehsil local government, while Section 25(A) provided for the powers and duties of the mayor of the local government of the town.

The petitioner said that the provincial government brought the KP Local Government (Amendment) Bill to the assembly with bad faith intentions, while the house passed it on June 3 and it is entered into force on June 8.

He complained about recent changes to Sections 23A and 25A of the KPLGA, which he said related to the powers and duties of local council chairpersons and mayors, respectively.

Mr. Mayar said these amendments led to the removal of the powers and duties of the heads of local law agencies and their mention in the rules.

He claimed that other changes had also been made to the law to increase the powers of the provincial government over elected local councils, while the powers of local governments had been reduced.

The petitioner said that the elected representatives of the local councils had challenged the elections under the KPLGA which clearly defined their powers, so the removal of those powers and functions through the amended law was a clear breach of the Constitution.

He said that under Article 140-A of the Constitution, each province should, by law, establish a system of local government and delegate political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to elected representatives of local bodies. local.

Mr. Mayar also said that Articles 32 and 37(i) of the Constitution are aimed at strengthening the local government system in the country.

Posted in Dawn, July 8, 2022