SC orders arrangements for elections in cantonments
04 January, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday disposed of a petition regarding holding of local bodies' elections in cantonment board areas after it was apprised by Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Dil Muhammad Alizai that a summary had been approved by the chief executive over the pending issue.
The Supreme Court said that it would not allow further delay and the arrangements in this regard should be finalised by May 5. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was hearing Raja Rab Nawaz's petition regarding elections in 34 cantonment board areas of the country. The petitioner has demanded that elections should be held in the cantonment areas of Quetta in accordance with the Local Government Act 1924.
The bench was informed that the Act was replaced with the Local Government Ordinance, 2001, but it could not be implemented in the cantonment board areas. The chief justice said, "Civilian and military both have their own jurisdiction and their separate defined role." He stated that the taxpayers' money is also involved in the matter; and civilians should be given the right to choose their representatives. The CJP also questioned why in the 14 years no elections were held in the cantonment board areas, adding there should be solid reasons for not holding elections. This is a constitutional obligation which the Defence Ministry has not fulfilled, the court noted.
During the hearing, DAG Alizai informed the court that the prime minister has approved the summary for holding elections in the cantonment board areas. Justice Azmat said, "The civilians should be governed by civilian representatives." He stated that the British had established the cantonment boards in 1924 and it was mentioned in the Act that there would be civilian representatives. "You have to hold the elections if there is no any legal hurdle in this regard. If the elections are postponed then there should be any valid legal ground," Justice Azmat said.