Islamabad—A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali while hearing a suo motu case relating to delay in census ordered the government on Thursday to initiate the census process by March 15 in 2017 and complete it within two months.
The CJ expressed disappointment over the government inaction regarding census and warned that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be in court for clarification if the population census date not finalized by December 07. A joke out of the country was being made by delaying the census, he remarked.
The government does not have fair intentions, in fact the status quo suits all political parties, the CJ said in his remarks.
The apex court said that the government should give a final date for the census by December 7, otherwise the court will summon the prime minister. Moreover, the Chief Justice asked the government to submit a written assurance that the census will begin of March 15 and end on May 15.
Later, the Supreme court adjourned the case hearing till December 7.
Pakistan Bureau of Statistics in a report presented before a three-judge bench of the apex court earlier this month said a summary sent to the Council of Common Interests proposed the census be held in March/April 2017 on traditional method subject to availability of the armed forces.
The bench rebuffed the conditions placed on the holding of the census, saying that the government’s report was ‘just for show’, and said that an unambiguous and clear date should be presented.
Holding census after every 10 years is a constitutional obligation but no such exercise has been conducted in the country over the last eighteen years It is a federal subject as listed at Sl. NO. 38 of Federal Legislation list, Part-1, Fourth Schedule, Constitution of Pakistan.
It is highly important in the sense that the seats for the national and provincial assemblies are allocated on the basis of it. Secondly, the funds between the federation and the provinces are disbursed and distributed on the basis of population. Thirdly, the quota for the recruitment of federal posts is also worked out on the basis of population ratio. It is also required for tax collection and other civic issues, including peri-urban settlements, resource allocation for infrastructure development, provision of civic amenities, etc.