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SHC seeks details of laws on jirgas and panchayats

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the counsel of a petitioner seeking to move the government to regulate panchayats and jirgas in the country to present any existing laws against the holding of these unofficial dispute resolution councils on record.

The SHC on Monday was hearing a petition filed by the Helpline Trust seeking the implementation of laws regarding panchayats and jirgas in order to regularise their functions and prevent them from being misused.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that panchayats and jirgas have been held in the Subcontinent for centuries as an alternate dispute resolution forum. However, in Pakistan these councils are not working properly since ineligible persons are using the system for their own benefit.

Referring to the revenge rape incident in Multan in July when a panchayat had ordered the brother of a rape victim to rape the perpetrator’s 16-year-old sister for revenge, the counsel said that such village councils can work better if they are formalised and regulated in accordance with the law of the land.

Naming the ministry of interior, the secretary for parliamentary affairs and several others as respondents, the petitioner requested the court to immediately put an end to decisions being taken in such forums which go against the tenets of Sunnah and the Holy Quran and regulate them so that they continue to work for the betterment of society by settling disputes outside of courts.

The SHC then directed the lawyer to present the relevant laws in this regard at the next hearing.

‘ASIs should be hired on merit’

In a separate case, the SHC on Monday ruled that the provincial police cannot recruit someone for the post of assistant sub-inspector (ASI) on the basis of the son of shaheed quota, clarifying that the appointment can only be made through a competitive process and
on merit.

Dismissing a petition filed by a fallen policeman’s son against his non-appointment for the post of ASI on the son/shaheed quota, the court observed that Sindh Civil Servant Act 1973 is an act of general application while the Police Act 1861 is of special application to an officer of subordinate rank of police force.

Petitioner Rab Nawaz had told the court that his father was working as inspector in the Sindh police and died during service on October 22, 1988. He said that he applied in 1996 for the post of ASI on Shaheed/son quota but the authorities concerned asked him to approach through the competitive process in 2011.

He added that the Sindh Public Service Commission conducted exams in 2013 and rejected him on September 25, 2014 because he over the set age. Nawaz said that he was being discriminated against because several persons had been appointed as ASI in late 90s on the basis of the son of shaheed quota.

The additional advocate general argued that the standing orders of the IGP regarding the quota were not approved by the provincial government and that the petitioner could not claim relaxation of age because such a notification was not applicable for the police department.

The court then observed that the police department could not circumvent the law to recruit for the post of ASI on the basis of quota mentioned by the petitioner by the invoking Rule 11-A of Sindh Civil Servant (appointment, posting and transfer) Rules 1974 and Sindh Shaheed Recognition and Compensation Act 2014.

“The appointment of ASI can only be made through a competitive process on merit,” the SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Sadiq Hussain Bhatti and Justice Adnanul Karim Memon observed.

The bench then disposed of the petition saying the petitioner cannot claim right to appointment as ASI because his case does not fall under the Sindh Shaheed Recognition and Compensation Act 2014.

Khurshid, Jamshaid. SHC seeks details of laws on jirgas and panchayats. The News, October 31, 2017.

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