KARACHI, Feb 26: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to the provincial police chief for “concealing the facts” regarding the police officials who were facing criminal charges in trial courts but still enjoying field postings.
A larger bench of the apex court that had earlier directed the inspector general of police to place all the police officials involved in criminal cases under suspension became visibly irked when Advocate Ghulam Mohammad Shah along with his clients informed the court that two senior superintendents of police (SSPs) were still heading the district police despite being named in FIRs of murder cases.
The bench headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali was seized with the hearing of the Karachi law and order sou motu implementation case at the apex court’s Karachi registry. Other members of the bench were Justices Khilji Arif Hussain, Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Gulzar Ahmed and Athar Saeed.
Expressing extreme displeasure and annoyance over the conduct of IGP Fayyaz Leghari, who has engaged a Lahore-based senior lawyer to represent him in court, the bench directed the police chief to show cause as to why contempt proceedings may not be initiated against him for deliberately suppressing and concealing the facts regarding SSPs Pir Farid Jan Sirhandi and Farrukh Bashir, who were still enjoying field posting although they were named in murder FIRs.
The larger bench was dismayed at the outset of the hearing when IG Leghari filed a report pertaining to the police functionaries facing criminal charges before trial courts across the province as it did not contain the names of the two SSPs.
A civil rights campaigner, Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi, who also filed an application seeking action against 411 delinquent police officials, rose to add to the embarrassment to the provincial police chief saying “IG Sindh was himself an accused person in a case in Islamabad”.
The bench came down heavily on the IG when he could not satisfy the court that if a policeman involved in criminal cases could be placed under suspension under the rules and directed the IGP’s counsel, Advocate Shah Khawar, to read out the relevant police rule that provided the proposed action against delinquent police officials. “How can a person testify against the police officials involved in heinous crimes if they are enjoying field postings,” Justice Jamali remarked.
He observed that the police officials facing criminal charges should have been placed under suspension by the IGP.
Justice Athar Saeed asked the IG as to why the names of the two SSPs were not included in the list of those policemen who were facing criminal charges. “Are they blue-eyed ones?” he posed a question.
“Have mercy on people of this city and province,” Justice Khilji told the IG and observed that the security situation in the city was abnormal and strict action was required against all criminal elements across the board.
The bench directed the provincial police chief to submit a complete list of undertrial police officials who were placed under suspension by him.
The judges observed that it was obligatory under the law that if an officer was found involved in criminal activities he should be placed under suspension and the DIG concerned was required to provide reasons if such officer was not suspended.
Transport secretary summoned
Later, the bench took up issues relating to public transport in the city and observed that there seemed no improvement in traffic management and almost every street remained choked in the rush hour.
"Go to the Burnes Road and see the traffic chaos over there," Justice Khilji remarked referring to one of the most popular food streets in the city.
The bench asked as to why legislation was not being made to bring strict motor vehicle laws so that action could be taken against violators when a senior traffic police officer informed the court that the traffic police was not empowered to impound unfit public vehicles under the existing laws.
"Legislation is made in an hour when there is a political exigency, but making laws in the public interest is never a government priority," remarked Justice Jamali.
The traffic police officer further submitted that the unfit public vehicles were fined Rs100 only and they kept on plying the streets as the traffic police could not impound them due to a legal lacuna.
On a court query, Additional Chief Secretary (home) Waseem Ahmed submitted that the police department had on Dec 17, 2012 sent a summary to the provincial transport secretary for enhancing the fine imposed on traffic offenders, but no response was so far received from the provincial transport department.
The court was informed that the traffic police had examined as many as 19,539 public vehicles during the past three months and 1,104 vehicles were found unfit and they were not issued fitness certificates. The bench summoned the transport secretary and adjourned the hearing to Wednesday (today).