Islamabad High Court (IHC) has asked for the cabinet meeting minutes and a description of the January 19 increase in the number of union councils (UCs) in Islamabad on Monday.
The hearing on the intra-court appeals against the court’s order to hold local government (LG) elections in the federal capital on December 31 was held by a two-member bench led by IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq.
The federal government was directed by the high court to give a good justification for raising the number of UCs for the LG polls from 101 to 125 in the next hearing. The court issued a warning that if the administration did not give a good enough cause it would require that elections be held in 101 UCs.
What would happen now that elections weren’t held was a question, “Is it not the district election commissioner’s responsibility to review the voter lists? Court questioned.
The court declared that three days had been allotted for voter list rectification. IHC CJ stated that if the single bench’s ruling was upheld the voters’ concerns will be genuine.
“Even if there are 101 union councils where the election must take place you must still publish the timetable. If the number of UCs is increased to 125 as recommended by the federal government the voter issue will no longer exist ” he added.
Justice Farooq said that whenever the UCs were raised the same procedure would be redone. He questioned the director-general of law about how long the ECP will need to conduct the elections.
Elections must be held on 101 UCs within 10 days, according to the ECP’s DG legislation.
The hearing was postponed until January 19 by the court.
The Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2022 which calls for an increase in the number of UCs was returned unsigned on January 1 by President Dr. Arif Alvi because it was “anathema to democracy.”
On December 30 IHC overturned ECP’s ruling and instructed to conduct local government elections on December 31 as scheduled.