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CM advisers can’t be given status of minister: SHC

January 11, 2013

KARACHI, Jan 10: The Sindh High Court on Thursday ruled that the advisers appointed by the chief minister could not be conferred the status of minister and the CM had no power to delegate any execution power or authority to them under the constitution.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam gave this ruling while disposing of an application of the provincial government for review of the SHC order of May 30, 2011 to the extent that the advisers may exercise such powers as may be delegated and perform such functions as may be assigned to them by the chief minister.

Additional Advocate General Adnan Karim filed the review application on the instruction of the chief secretary for a review of the SHC order that said: “The Additional Advocate General states only five advisers were appointed by the Chief Minister which he is competent to do under Article 130 (11) of the Constitution and that such advisers have not been allotted any portfolio not they have been conferred with the power of minister”.

The AAG in his application stated that he had made a statement that the advisers, who were appointed by the CM, were not conferred with the power of minister, nor were they allotted any portfolio of any minister, but it was inadvertently recorded in the order that such advisers were not allotted any portfolio of minister.

He said his statement was bona fide and with reference to a gazette notification dated March 18, 2003 by virtue of clause 4(2) which read as under: “An adviser shall exercise such powers as may be delegated and perform such functions as may be assigned to him by the Chief Minister”.

The AAG submitted in his application that the court order needed clarification to the extent that such advisers shall exercise powers as may be delegated and perform such functions as may be assigned to them by the chief minister.

The bench observed that the advisers might advise the chief minister on any issue as might be assigned to the minister, but they could not exercise execution functions in terms of Article 129 of the constitution.

The court also observed that the Article 129 of the constitution did not allow the chief minister to act through advisers, nor could the advisers be conferred the status of minister.

The bench further observed that though in terms of Article 129, the CM could act directly or through minister, but an appointed adviser could not exercise any authority, nor did the CM have the powers to delegate any execution power or authority to the advisers who might merely advise or otherwise strictly in accordance with the constitution and law.

The SHC order of May 30, 2011 came on a petition of Alf Jatoi, represented by Advocate Zamir Ghumro, who challenged the appointment of advisers to the chief minister.

The petitioner had impleaded advisers Rashid Hussain Rabbani, Gul Muhammad Laat, Qurban Ali Behan, Waqas Malik, Mufti Ferozuddin Hazarvi, Sharmila Farooqui, Ghulam Qadir Malkani, Babar Leghari, Imamuddin Shauqeen, Mohammed Siddiqui Abu Bhai, Jehangir Delawar Khanjee, Sardar Aamir Khan Bhutto, Jameel Ahmed Soomro, Kaiser Bengali, Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh, Zubair Ahmed Motiwala and Fazal-ur-Rehman as respondents.

The petitioner submitted that under Article 130 of the Constitution, the chief minister of a province shall not appoint more than five advisers but the Sindh chief minister had unlawfully and unconstitutionally appointed more than 15 advisers and also allotted them portfolios that could not be allotted to them under the law.

The SHC disposed of the petition after the provincial government law officer submitted that there were only five advisers to the CM, while the remaining had already been relieved.

Faryal Talpur’s security plea

A division bench headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah gave one last chance to the interior secretary to submit his reply in a petition of Faryal Talpur, a member of the national assembly and sister of President Asif Ali Zardari, seeking adequate security from the law-enforcement agencies and permission for travelling in a vehicle having tinted glasses along with personal guards.

She prayed to the court to direct the respondents and law-enforcement and other agencies in the federation or in province to provide her a round-the-clock security cover in view of security agencies’ reports regarding serious threats to her life.The bench directed the interior secretary to file his comments before the next date or he would be required to appear in court.

The petitioner, represented by Advocates Akhtar Hussain and Masud Ghani, referred to the request of the National Crisis Management Cell to the home secretaries and provincial police chiefs, Rangers director-general, chief commissioner and inspector-general of Islamabad police and others for making all security arrangements whenever the petitioner visits respective provinces, with recommendation of a 24-hour special security cover to her.

The MNA, who is also the chief of the PPP’s women wing, also prayed to the court to direct the authorities to allow her to travel in the vehicle having factory-manufactured tinted glasses.

She prayed to the court to direct the authorities concerned to allow her to have her own personal security guards with licensed arms at her home, while travelling or while addressing public meetings.