Secretary summoned over LG officials’ term completion plea

Justice Jawad dismayed over non-submission of reply by Punjab government

Lahore High Court on Wednesday summoned local government secretary on petitions filed by Lahore Mayor Col (r) Mubashar Javed and others seeking directives for the completion of their five-year term as representatives of the local governments.

Justice Jawad Malik, who heard the case, expressed serious concern over the non-submission of a reply by the provincial government. “The lawyers should strictly follow the principles set by the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah,” remarked Justice Jawad when the law officer who was supposed to submit the reply on behalf of the provincial government failed to do so.

“Quaid-e-Azam used to appear before the courts with full preparation,” he observed while giving one day to the government to submit its reply. He directed the local government secretary to appear in person in the case. Previously, the court had sought assistance on the matter from the advocate general Punjab.

During the proceedings, Barrister Asad Rahim Khan, who was representing the petitioners, argued that his clients were affected by the illegal and ultra vires dissolution of the local governments, saying the procedure of their dissolution was not duly followed. The petitioners, Barrister Khan argued, could not represent the citizenry for 22 months and subsequent seven months and that they were denied the chance to fulfill the legitimate expectation of serving public interest.

“The denial of the legitimate expectations to serve the public interest of the constituents is not only against the doctrine of democracy but also infringes on the fundamental rights of the applicant under Article 17 of the Constitution,” Barrister Malik argued.

He also said that the preamble of the constitution specifically states that the principles of democracy would be fully observed. The counsel further argued that the state, under the constitution, exercises its powers and authority through the chosen representatives. The applicant asked the court to be a party in the case, which the court allowed as the others did not oppose his contentions. The petitioners, through their counsels, pleaded with the court to retain their public offices and relied upon the judgment mentioned supra (2021 LHC 6800).

They asked the court that the term of the office of the local government formed under Article 140-A of the constitution read with provision of Section 30 of the Act 2013 should be provided to them. They also asked the court that the time period excluded due to the enactment of the Act of 2019 be added in their tenure to complete its five years.

Fida Hussnain is a correspondent covering judiciary, politics, business and health issues. He is also a feature writer and researcher with major work on freedom of press in Pakistan. He tweets @fidahassanain and can be reached at fidahassanain@gmail.com.

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