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Review of Provincial Local Gov Ordinances

Recently, individual-land reviewed the Local Government Ordinances of all the provinces of the country i.e. NWFP, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan .The study included the review of amendments brought about in the provincial ordinances. 78 sections in the Punjab LGO 2001 were amended; 90 sections in the NWFP LGO 2001; 88 sections in the Balochistan LGO 2001; and 81 sections in the Sindh LGO 2001 were amended. These amendments are more or less similar and have been discussed at length in the media. Individual-land also did a detailed analysis of these amendments and their implication in one of our occasional comment papers titled, `` Local Bodies Elections 2005:an exercise in politics or confusion?" Please refer to it for details. .

For this e-input, individual-land would like to highlight some citizen friendly clauses of the various Ordinances as well as some clauses which perhaps pose some questions. Individual-land would be happy to share the complete ordinances with any individual that is interested and so feel free to contact us in this regard.

Proceeding with the review, here are some clauses in the different Ordinances that are designed to aim at greater transparency and the citizens should be aware of them.

Citizen's right to access of information clauses:

Clause 6 of the NWFP Local Ordinance states that ``Every person shall have the right to inspect ,during office hours, the electoral rolls of a union by making an application in this behalf to the Registration Officer Concerned " Clause 12 of the same provincial Ordinance which explains the procedure of nominations for elections has sub clause (4) which states ,``Every nomination paper shall be accompanied by a declaration of assets of the candidates on Form XIX ,which shall be open to inspection to very voter of the local area concerned" The same provincial ordinance under Chapter VII which deals with the responsibilities of the Returning Officer after the poll states that all documents related to the election (e.g. ballot papers, tendered ballots etc) must be retained by the officer authorized by the Chief Election Commissioner. Section 55 of the Ordinance further goes on to state,

"The documents retained under rule 54(3), shall be open to public inspection at such time and subject to such conditions as many be specified by the Provincial Election Commissioner, upon an application made in this behalf on payment of such fee as may be fixed by the Provincial Election Commissioner. Copies of, or extracts from, those documents may be obtained by any voter of local area, on written application and payment of fees determined by the Provincial Election Commissioner"

As mentioned earlier, the provincial ordinances are similar and thus these clauses are also present in the other provincial documents although with varying clause numbers. However, the Sindh Local Government Ordinance has clause 61 which is ,

Restructuring of Provincial Departments:

Administrative realignment of Provincial departments shall be made in compatibility with the features of Devolution Plan ensuring the principles of good governance not later than the 31st of December 2005." Individual-land could not find this particular clause in the other provincial ordinances. This should be taken as a window of opportunity in Sindh and perhaps civil society organizations can perhaps monitor this after December 31st 2005.

In addition to these clauses, there is a rather interesting clause 37 titled `` Equality of votes" in the NWFP Local Government Ordinances. It states:

"Where after the consolidation of results of the count under rule 36, it is found that there is equality of votes between two or more contesting candidates and the addition of one vote for one such candidate would entitle him to be declared elected, the Returning officer shall forthwith draw a lot by the toss of a coin in respect of such candidates and the candidate on whom the lot falls shall be deemed to have received the highest number of votes, entitling him to be declared elected"

This ``drawing of lots" is perhaps a new step in devolution of power! Individual-land would like to invite researchers to explore as to what is the global experience in such situations and whether other countries also toss coins for democracy?



individualland.com (Last Updated Wednesday, 26 October 2016)

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