LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday struck down Civil Procedure Code (CPC) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021, which the government claimed to have introduced to ensure speedy disposal of cases, on petitions of the Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) and others.
Justice Shahid Karim allowed the petitions through a short order announced in the open court. The reasons will be given in a detailed verdict to be issued later.
In his arguments, Advocate Ahmad Qayum, also a member of the PbBC, contended that the impugned ordinance was ultra vires to articles 202 and 203 of the Constitution and in violation of basic structure of the Constitution. He said the ordinance was in contradiction to independence of judiciary and the fundamental rights of the litigants and citizens of the province of Punjab.
He pointed out that the minutes and documents produced before the court by the provincial government regarding issuance of the impugned ordinance were prima facie manufactured and contradictory.
Govt says it was introduced on the request of PbBC to ensure speedy disposal of cases
He said the record clearly indicated that the requirement of the approval by the cabinet was not fulfilled and in fact the minutes placed on record were quite possibly doctored or manufactured and contempt had been committed by trying to mislead the court.
This is perhaps the reason these documents were not produced with the report and para-wise comments as they were in the process of being prepared after the fact.
Advocate Qayum further argued that the minutes of the cabinet clearly established that the legislation was a dictated issuance of the ordinance, without application of mind by anyone in the province under the direction of the prime minister on Feb 4, 2021.
He said the prime minister was not empowered to issue such directions.
He argued that this was not only a fraud on the scheme of the Constitution but also was ultra vires to article 149, which in only certain circumstances allows the federation (not the prime minister) to issue directions to the provinces in certain limited circumstances.
He said the ordinance had been issued without any consultation with stakeholders including most crucially the rule making committee of the LHC and even the bar council.
remand extended: A judicial magistrate at Model Town Courts on Monday extended the physical remand of PML-N MNA Javed Latif for further four days in a case of inciting people against the state institutions.
The CIA police produced the PML-N leader before the court in an armoured vehicle and requested it to grant his further physical remand to complete investigation.
The investigating officer said a polygraph test of the suspect was yet to be conducted.
Latif’s counsel opposed further remand and said there was no need to conduct polygraph test. He said it was not a case of murder but the police wanted to keep the custody of the MNA only on one pretext or another.
The counsel argued that the case was politically motivated and unlawfully registered by the police. He said no state institution filed any complaint against the MNA but the police registered the FIR carrying allegations of anti-state narrative.
However, duty magistrate Zunaira Zafar extended the remand for further four days and directed the police to produce Latif again on May 7.
Township police registered the FIR on complaint of citizen Jameel Saleem under sections 120/120B, 153/153A, 500, 505(i) (B) and 506 of Pakistan Penal Code. The sections deal with the offences of causing incitement against the state institutions including the army and promoting enmity between different groups.
Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021