GUJRAT: Mandi Bahauddin Deputy Commissioner Tariq Basra and Assistant Commissioner Imtiaz Ali who were convicted for a contempt of court and awarded three-month imprisonment by the judge of the consumer court have reportedly evaded arrest and left for Lahore.
This happened despite the orders of the judge for their arrest from the courtroom who also asked the district police officer (DPO) to send the convicted officers to Gujrat District Jail instead of Mandi Bahauddin jail. Earlier reports had said that instead of taking the convicts to the jail, as per orders of the court, police had detained the both officers in DC house.
Mandi Bahauddin DPO Sajid Khokhar also went leave until Monday.
On the other hand, uncertainty looms over Mandi Bahauddin district administration in the wake of conviction of DC and AC for contempt of court. The Gujranwala commissioner has handed over the charge of Mandi Bahauddin DC to Additional Deputy Commissioner Revenue (ADCR) Ehsanul Haq Zia on a temporary basis.
DPO goes on leave; ADCR gets charge of DC office
The acting DC said he was unaware of any further move of the DC and AC or the government and he could not talk about the issue. He declined to comment when asked about the whereabouts of the convicted officers.
According to an official of the Gujrat District Jail, both the convicts have not yet been shifted to the jail though the judge had issued a written order of sending them to the said jail after awarding them three months imprisonment.
Official sources say both the officers left for Lahore late on Friday, the day they were convicted. They say the decision of the consumer court, headed by the district and sessions judge, has sent a wave of shock among the civil servants across the country, particularly the administrative officers in Punjab.
Sources in Mandi Bahauddin say both the convicted officers are weighing various options to come out of the situation, including filing an appeal before the Lahore High Court or applying a bail application. They say the officers may move a bail application on Monday (Nov 29).
Mandi Bahauddin consumer court judge Rao Abdul Jabbar, who is also district and sessions judge, had convicted DC and AC for contempt of court in connection with the hearing of a plea by a citizen,
Muhammad Asim, who was forcibly evicted from an official residence in Wapda Colony by Rana Mehboob Ali, a litigation clerk in the local administration.
The court issued notices to the DC and AC to appear before the court; however, they sent the litigation clerk who committed grave misconduct and contempt by misbehaving with the judge. The clerk challenged the authority of the court, as well. At this, the judge convicted him. However, DC Tariq Basra personally made a phone call to the judge and misbehaved with him, asking him to set the clerk free whereas AC Imtiaz Ali also appeared in the court and misbehaved with the judge.
The judge issued notices to both DC and AC under Section 228 of the PPC to appear and personally answer as to why contempt proceedings should not initiated against them. Both the officers appeared in the court on Friday but they could not satisfy the judge. At this, the judge awarded three months imprisonment to both the officers and sent them to the Gujrat District Jail.
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2021