KARACHI: The ongoing tussle between the Sindh government and the inspector general of police took a new turn as the Sindh High Court on Monday suspended two notifications issued by the provincial authorities for surrendering the services of two senior police officers to the federal government.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar suspended the operation on the notifications issued on Oct 15 and Dec 6, surrendering the services of DIG Khadim Rind and SSP Dr Rizwan Ahmed to the establishment division, respectively.
The court directed the provincial authorities to file their reply till Dec 24.
The petition was filed by some civil society members against the alleged interference of the Sindh government in the transfer and posting of police officers.
In the previous hearing, only the IGP had filed a reply and the additional advocate general (AAG) had sought time to file comments of the provincial government. The court then adjourned the matter till Jan 15.
The SHC asks the provincial authorities to file their reply by Dec 24
But on Monday, lawyer for petitioners Advocate Faisal Siddiqui filed an application for urgent hearing of the petition stating that the chief secretary had relieved DIG-Establishment Khadim Rind and Shikarpur SSP Dr Rizwan without consultation and even without bringing the issue into the knowledge of the IGP.
The lawyer referred to a recent letter written by the IGP to the chief secretary through which he informed the latter about his concerns over the sudden and unplanned surrender of services of these officers to the federal government.
The IGP stated in the letter that it had not only affected police working but also created an environment of uncertainty among officers.
The letter further stated that these decisions had also demoralised the police and undermined the command of the IGP. The letter stated that the IGP came to know about the transfers through media.
The police chief further mentioned in the letter that an SHC judgement had held that the IGP must have independent control as far as the postings and transfers were concerned and the ruling was also upheld by the Supreme Court.
The petitioner lawyer further argued that as per the relevant provisions of the Sindh (Repeal of the Police Act, 1861 & Revival of Police Order, 2002) Amendment Act, 2019, it was clearly provided that the government may post such a number of additional IGs and DIGs to assist the IGP and additional IG, as the case may be, in the efficient performance of duties as it may deem fit, in consultation with the IGP or additional IG, as the case may be.
He said the IGP’s letter reflected that no consultation was ever made with him before making such decisions, adding that the law also empowered the IGP to post SPs, ASPs and DSPs.
He added that due to exigency of service or on grounds of misconduct and inefficiency, which warrant major penalty under the relevant rules, such police officers may be transferred before completion of their term of office.
However, the counsel pointed out that no such exigency or circumstances had been pointed out in the impugned notifications and even the IG in his letter shown no concern against the two officers.
The lawyer pleaded that since both the notifications were issued in violation of the law the same may be suspended.
AAG Jawad Dero waived the notice of urgent application and a copy of the application had been provided to him.
The bench directed the AAG to file the reply of the provincial government, adjourned the matter till Dec 24 and ruled that in the meanwhile, operation on both the notifications was suspended.
Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2019