LAHORE: The Local Councils Association of Punjab has challenged the newly enacted Punjab Local Government Act-2019 (PLGA-2019) that abolished the previously elected system before the expiry of its five-year constitutional term.

The association consisting of the chairmen of district councils from across the province also challenge the Punjab Village Panchayats and Neighbourhood Councils Act, 2019 through a constitutional petition filed through Advocate Mobeenuddin Qazi.

The petition contends the existing local government system has been replaced with a toothless ‘municipal/local councils system, whereas, the Constitution envisages a “local government as a third tier of the provincial government, to exercise devolved administrative, power, and never envisaged a mere “municipal system’.

Therefore, the impugned enactments introducing mere puppet municipal councils instead of meaningful local governments, does not fulfill the mandate of Article 140-A of the Constitution.

It asks the court to declare that the dissolution of existing local governments prematurely and the consequent premature removal of mayors, chairmen as well as other elected representatives of the local government, through the impugned legislations is unconstitutional and illegal.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan has already constituted a three-judge full bench to hear several petitions pending against the new local government laws.

The full bench, headed by Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh, is likely to resume its hearing next week. Justice Shahid Mobeen and Justice Jawad Hassan are other members of the bench.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2019