KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Friday directed the provincial authorities to immediately launch a fumigation drive in the prisons of the province in view of the coronavirus outbreak and to prevent unnecessary entry of public at the detention facilities.
SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh also ordered that proper fumigation be carried out on the premises of SHC Karachi and its benches at Hyderabad, Larkana and Sukkur as well as at the district judiciary of the province.
While issuing directives to the provincial secretaries for health and home, the chief justice said that in view of the spreading of epidemic coronavirus, proper fumigation, sterilisation and other necessary precautionary measures be urgently taken in all the jail premises in Sindh and to stop the unnecessary entry of public in the prisons.
Chief justice also wants high court’s premises in Karachi and other benches fumigated
He further said that the persons whose attendance was required by the courts may only be allowed to enter the courtrooms. Earlier, the SHC had also directed its officials and staff to mark their attendance via face recognition and avoid marking their presence through thumb impression.
Meanwhile, the Sindh High Court Bar Association has also sent a letter to the registrar of SHC requesting to launch a general awareness campaign against coronavirus and to take necessary steps to stop and curtail its spread in courts across the province.
Authorities restrained from taking adverse action against SSP
The SHC has restrained the authorities from taking any adverse action against former Shikarpur SSP Dr Rizwan Ahmed till March 17.
A petition was filed in SHC challenging a notification of an inquiry committee constituted by the provincial authorities against the former SSP of Shikarpur.
However, the officials of home department and police informed the two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar that the fact-finding inquiry has been completed and the matter has been sent to the competent authority for approval and further action.
The additional advocate general Sindh Jawwad Dero submitted that only fact-finding inquiry has been conducted against Dr Rizwan and neither any show-cause notice was issued nor any FIR lodged against him. However, he added that the SSP was directed to report to central police office (CPO).
Fareed Dayo filed an application on behalf of one Abdul Nabi Khan to become an intervener or respondent in the petition since he contended that the applicant had filed a complaint against the SSP to the home department on the basis of which the inquiry was ordered. The bench provided the copy of the application to the counsel for petitioners.
Mansoor Ahmed and others through their counsel petitioned the SHC and argued that a notification was issued on the directive of the chief minister for constitution of an inquiry committee against former Shikarpur SSP Dr Rizwan Ahmed.
They maintained that under the law, the inspector general of police (IGP) was the in-charge of police force, but the inquiry committee was constituted without consulting the provincial police officer of Sindh.
The petitioners further contended that in his letter to the chief secretary Sindh, the then IG Sindh Dr Syed Kaleem Imam said that he was not consulted before notifying the inquiry committee.
The petitioners alleged that the provincial authorities were meddling in the affairs of the Sindh police and pleaded to set aside the notification.
Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2020