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Have your say: Judicial commission issues notice to the public

A judicial commission of the Sindh High Court (SHC) issued on Saturday a notice inviting people and public organisations acquainted with, affected by or concerned with the issue of non-supply of clean drinking water to the public and deteriorating sanitation conditions across the province, to submit their statements.

The commission, headed by Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro, asked the public and organisations to submit their statements supported by affidavits and documents relating to the matter by January 7, 2017. The inquiry commission was constituted on December 27 on the orders of the Supreme Court to probe allegations of non-provision of clean drinking water and deteriorating sanitation conditions across the province. It will conduct proceedings at the SHC on a daily basis from January 2.

Ghulam Mustafa Channa, the commission’s registrar, told The Express Tribune that the commission has invited public organisations with social agendas relating to the matter of inquiry and persons acquainted with, affected by and concerned with the issue to furnish statements with the commission relating to the terms and conditions of the inquiry. He said that such statements should be in the form of an affidavit, in respect to the facts set out in the statement. Channa added that the affidavits should be sworn before a first class magistrate, public notary, oath commissioner or any other authority legally empowered to administer oaths.

The notice reads that the persons furnishing the statements shall also furnish to the commission a list of documents, if any, on which they propose to rely on and forward to the commission. The original or true copies of such documents, as may be in the person’s possession or control, shall state the name and address of the person from whom the remaining documents may be obtained, according to the notice.

It further said that the commission shall exercise all the powers of a high court judge, inclusive of powers conferred under the Civil Procedure Code, for summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath, requiring the discovery and production of any document. According to the notice, the commission will also have the power to receive evidence on affidavits, requisitioning any public record or copy from any court or office and issuing commissions for examination of witnesses or documents. The commission said that the statement affidavits, along with the duplicate documents, can be submitted or sent to the registrar of the commission of inquiry or can be personally handed over to him by January 7.

According to the terms of reference, the inquiry commission will record its findings regarding the provision and supply of clean water to the residents of Sindh, besides the deteriorating condition of sanitation in the province. The commission will also examine the statutory role played by the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency on the issues mandated by the Sindh Environmental Protection Act, 2014.

The commission will also examine the officials or material from relevant agencies or organisations, inclusive of all the civic and land-owning agencies. The federal government, Sindh government or any organisation under their control are to cooperate with the commission. It will also look into the aforesaid issues and record its findings in detail in a report within six weeks from the date of its notification. The commission will hold the inquiry on a day-to-day basis.

Citation: Reporter. Have your say: Judicial commission issues notice to the public. Tribune, Dec 31, 2016.

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