Sindh cabinet discards 100-year old punitive Prison Act

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KARACHI: The provincial cabinet of Sindh taking a historic decision on Monday discarded over 100 year old punitive Prison Act of 1894 and approved Sindh Prison & Correction Act-2019.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at 7th floor of the New Sindh Secretariat and was attended by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, all provincial ministers, advisors, special assistants and concerned secretaries.
The cabinet in its start approved the minutes of the last cabinet meeting and discussed Sindh Prison & Corrections Act-2019.
Prisons & Correction Act-219: The Chief Minister said, the purpose of the Prison system is to contribute to the maintenance and protection of a just peaceful and safe society by enforcing sentences given by the courts, confining all prisoners in safe custody whilst ensuring their fundamental rights and enshrined in the constitution and assisting the welfare and rehabilitation of prisoners and their reintegration into the society as law abiding citizens through provision of reformation programme. “Therefore, we have to make our Act and rules accordingly,” he said.
Secretary Home Kazi Kabir briefing the cabinet about the issues in the previous Prisons Acts of 1894 said it was primarily punitive in nature and it lacked certain aspects such as reformation, adequate security, clarity on policy and management and also lacked core focus on development of prison human resources.
Minister Prison Syed Nasir Shah spelling out silent features of the draft act said it has 14 chapters and 84 sections in which purpose of prison system, basic principles and definitions have been given clearly. He added that the new Act (Chapter 2) deals with declaration of prisons, sub-jail, judicial lock-ups.
Chapter -3 deals with establishment of Prison policy board and management committees, Chapter-4 contains duties of IG and other officers and with establishment of Prison Training Academy, recruitment, transfer, posting, discipline and performance and powers of officers and the medical officer.
Chapter -6 contains treatment of lawful custody under which UTPs to be treated differently from convicted prisons. Admission process, rights of inmates, security classification- high, medium and low, introduction of biometric, rights to lawyer and legal aid and undergo on health examination on admission are given in this chapter.
Chapter 6: It segregates prisoners on the basis of gender, age, conviction status, danger, condemned and with contagious diseases etc.
It also has the clauses of adequate diet provision- needs of the patients, pregnant women, children and religious requirements, entitlement of one-hour daily exercise.
Chapter-7 is about transfer of prisoners – inter-provincial, international, extradition etc, Chapter-8 about discharge or early discharge of a prisoner for certain reasons of incapacitated, incurable, infirm, above age of 65 and good conduct rules.
Chapter 9 deals with prisoners’ wellbeing rehabilitation such as non-discrimination, meaningful remunerated employment opportunities, minimum one visit for one hour per month, education, vocational training, health facilities and social and psychological services.
Chapter-10 deals with visits and correspondence such as prisoners can send or receive letters, visits – supervised, audio or video recorded etc. Chapter 11 has the provisions of board of visitors, prisoners oversight committee visits, inspections, testing of food and inquiries into complaints.
The cabinet discussed the draft and approved it and also formed a committee under Minister Prison Syed Nasir Shah, Minister Energy Imtiaz Shaikh and Advisor Law to give final touch ups to the draft and send it to the assembly within seven days.
Sindh Evacuee Trust Act: Minister for minorities Affairs Hari Ram Kishori told the cabinet that the concurrent legislative list of the constitution was omitted by the Constitution (18th Amendment) Act 2010. The subject of the Evacuee Trust Property thus became a provincial subject.
The Evacuee Trust Properties which were previously being managed by the Evacuee Trust Property Board now need to be made managed by the provincial government through legislation. Therefore, a draft law Sindh Evacuee Trust Property Board and Enactment of Sindh Evacuee Trust Properties (Management & Disposal) Act was introduced.
The cabinet approved the draft law and formed a committee under Provincial Minister Hari Ram with members Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah, Special Assistant to CM Dr Khatu Mal as its members. The committee will improve the draft law and refer to the assembly.
Amendment in Local Govt Act: The cabinet approved the amendment in Section-26 of the Sindh Local Government Act-2013 regarding resignation of office bearers. Under Sub section (1) and (2) of Section -26 of Sindh Local Government Act-2013, it has been provided that a mayor, deputy mayor, chairman, vice chairman or member of council may resign from his or her office by tendering resignation in writing under his or her hand to the council and the council shall forward the copies of the resignation to the government which shall be sent to the Election Commission for notification.
The meeting was told that it has been experienced that the council concerned while receiving resignation from an office bearer/ member was reluctant to process it further. The cabinet after discussion approved to substitute the word `council’ with `Administrative Department.’ Now the office bearers/members would send their resignation to the local government instead of sending it to the council.
Extension of Lien period: The cabinet approved extension of lien period on Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs) of Rs6 billion to Sindh Nooriabad Power (SNPCL) Project upto June 30, 2020.
It may be noted that Sindh government launched SNPCL, a 100 MW gas-based power generation project on PPP mode ion which it owns 49 percent shares while the private partner owns 51 percent shares. The company is technically and commercially sound, performing and profitable entities. Among the performance indicators, salient are:
It has earned a revenue of Rs6.624 billion; it has paid markup & principal amounting of Rs1.577 billion. The Nepra tariff standard for plant availability factor is 92 percent while it has achieved 95.36 percent. Net capacity of 100 MW capacity as per Nepra tariff standard has also been achieved. The State Bank has recognized external credit assessment Institution (ECAI) for 2018 in its report of Nov 19, 2018.
Work on power plant commenced in 2014 on the back of financial support provided by Sindh government in the form of provision of collateral to the National Bank for opening of Letter of Credit (LoC) for procurement of the plant. Despite this financial support, the SNPC has not been able to achieve financial close due to technical reasons and approached the government with the request to accord extension of lien period on PIBs of Rs6 billion and cash collateral of Rs600 million till June 2020. The cabinet approved the extension.
FCS: The Cooperative department presented an item with the request to appoint four members in Fisheremen Cooperative Society. At present, there are eight members in the society among them secretary fiancé, Secretary law, secretary fisheries department and secretary cooperative department would be removed an in their place three four others would be appointed. These members mostly cannot attend the FCS board meetings, therefore they have been removed and in their place four members would be appointed by Minister Fisheries & Livestock Mr Bari Pitafi.
Nomination for PEMRA: The cabinet was told that the PEMRA has requested the Information to nominate three members from general public as per criteria. The cabinet authorized CM Advisor on Information to nominate three members for PEMRA.
STEVTA: A minor amendment was made in The Sindh Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority Act-2009. Under the Act Minister STEVTA happens to be the Chairman of STEVTA. After amendment as approved by the cabinet the Minister STEVTA/ Advisor/Special assistant or any person nominated by the chief minister would be the chairman of STEVTA.
The Labour department presented Occupational Safety & health Council, Sindh. Secretary labour Rasheed Solangi gave presentation to the cabinet but the cabinet due to some technical issues in the proposec council deferred it and directed the department to present it in the next meeting.
The chief minister directed Secretary University & Board to resolve the registration issue of Khairpur medical College with PMDC within next 15 days and report him. He also directed the secretary to put him up a summary for solution of other issues of the college.
The chief minister directed Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah to ensure framing of rules of all the draft acts approved by the cabinet within next 15 days.

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