ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday once again told the provincial and federal governments that local bodies elections must be held in September.

A three-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, observed: “We would appreciate that all provincial governments and the Islamabad Capital Territory hold local government elections as early as possible by meeting the constitutional requirements.”

The court said: “Efforts should be made to arrange local government polls close to the date of elections in cantonment boards.”

The court already fixed September 15, 2013 for holding local government elections in cantonment board areas across the country.

Punjab Acting Advocate General Mustafa Ramday informed the court: “The provincial government wants new legislation for the local government for which it needs up to 3 weeks and subsequently is ready to facilitate the Election Commission for holding polls.”

Sindh Advocate General Khalid Javed said: “The provincial government is ready to hold LG elections on the date fixed by the Supreme Court but there are some hurdles in the way.” He asked the court to grant time until December 31.

The chief justice remarked: “Whatever is happening in Lyari would end after the local government elections because the local representatives would control the situation.”

Balochistan Advocate General Shakeel Baloch informed the bench “new legislation and delimitation is needed before holding the elections.” The main problem for the provincial government is to resettle the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Dera Bugti and Marri, he added.

The chief justice said that same problems were there at the time of general elections but despite that the polls were held.

Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti, representing the federation, said that in accordance with the Local Government Ordinance-1979, the election in the rural areas of the ICT could be held but legislation needed for doing the same in urban areas.

The chief justice said that the assemblies could pass the law within the time given by the Supreme Court.

ECP Director General (Elections) Sher Afgan said that the ECP could only hold LG elections in all provinces and the ICT “if the Local government laws are framed and the process of delimitation is completed”.

He said that the ECP on receiving the requests for holding the LG polls would organise elections in federating units and the ICT.

Referring to the Section 16 of the Balochistan Local Government Act-2010, he said after receiving requests, the commission could hold elections in not less 90 days and not more than 120 days.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Additional AG Mohammad Arshad said: “The process has been initiated to make amendments in Local Government Act-2013 and the ECP would announce election date as soon as the process is completed.

The court adjourned the case until August 15 so that the provincial governments and the ICT could complete the process of promulgating the law.