A special Division Bench of the Lahore High Court Thursday, declaring Section 18 of Punjab Local Government Act 2013 void, ordered to hold local bodies elections in Punjab on party-basis.
However, the Bench held that the provincial government had the authority to carry out delimitation of constituencies.
The special Bench comprising LHC Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Muhammad Farrukh Irfan Khan passed the short order while disposing of petitions filed by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and others challenging various sections of the Local Government Act 2013.
The Bench reserved the verdict after hearing arguments of all parties last week and it was announced in open court on Thursday. Earlier, PPP’s counsel Sardar Latif Khosa submitted that provision of non-party elections was violation of the constitution.
He contended that the impugned legislation did not fulfill the criteria of the constitution which requires provinces to establish local body system and devolve political, administrative and financial authority.
PTI’s counsel Bakhtiar Kasuri argued that the local councils were kept under subservience of the Punjab government through the Act which was against the constitution.
He said the provincial government did not have authority to hold delimitation of the constituencies as the constitution empowers the election commission for it.
However, Punjab government’s counsel Salman Aslam Butt concluding his arguments submitted that the local government elections could be held on non-party basis as the local governments did not have any legislative function.
He said the local governments work as administration institutions, therefore, apolitical persons should be elected in such institutions. He further contended that the provincial government had authority to conduct delimitation of the constituencies.