ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday observed whether the government needs some 200 years for conducting a population census, adding that the incumbent elected government had violated constitutional obligations, putting the Constitution in a showcase and was reluctant to implement the orders of the court in letter and spirit.
A two-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, heard a suo moto case pertaining to the census.Chief Justice Jamali had taken a suo moto notice of not conducting a census in the country in eight years.
The court sought within two weeks a written reply from the federal government, explaining as to when a census will be conducted in the country.Appearing on notice, Additional Attorney General (AAG) Waqar Ali Rana submitted before the court that two reports pertaining to the census had been filed with the court.
Justice Jamali, however, said the court was not interested in paper works but wants fulfillment of constitutional obligations and implementation of the court’s order.The chief justice observed that the elected government had violated the constitutional obligations, put the Constitution in a showcase and was avoiding to implement the court’s order in letter and spirit.
In its report, the federal government informed the court that conducting a census from Khunjerab to Karachi was a big exercise of peace time and holding of census in March 2016 was postponed due to unavailability of troops and human force.During the course of hearing, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed asked the AAG as to whether any time-frame had been given for conducting the census.
There was no time-frame given for holding the census, Waqar Ali Rana replied. Justice Azmat again asked the law officer as to whether it was the stance of the federal government that there was no time-frame for conducting the census and whether the government needed some 200 years for accomplishing the task.
The AAG replied it was the responsibility of the government to hold the census, adding that as per international convention, conducting of census was mandatory once in 10 years. Justice Jamali asked the law officer as to whether the government was interested in conducting the census.
The court directed the law officer to submit a written reply on behalf of the government as to when holding of a census will be ensured in the country and adjourned further hearing.