LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday suspended the conviction of Mandi Bahauddin Deputy Commissioner Tariq Basra and Assistant Commissioner Imtiaz Ali Baig awarded by a consumer court in a contempt case.

District and Sessions Judge Rao Abdul Jabbar Khan had on Nov 26 handed down three-month imprisonment each to both bureaucrats and also ordered the district police officer to shift them to jail.

However, it is learnt that the DPO kept the convicted officers detained in the DC house instead of taking them to jail as per the court orders.

The bureaucrats challenged their conviction before the LHC.

Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti heard their appeals as an “objection case” as the registrar office had objected to the maintainability of the appeals.

The office said the appellants filed appeals against their conviction without surrendering before the law.

Lahore High Court Bar Association President Maqsood Buttar and Advocate Mubashar Rehman appeared on behalf of the convicted bureaucrats, who were present in the court. The chief justice overruled the office objection.

The counsel argued that the impugned judgement whereby the petitioners were convicted was beyond the scope of the provisions of the law as envisaged under sections 480 and 482 of CrPC.

The chief justice observed that prima facie the contention raised by the counsel had no force as the impugned judgement was silent concerning the procedure to be adhered to by the district judge while awarding the punishment.

The judge further observed that Article 10-A of the Constitution gave an individual a right to fair trial and due process of law.

The chief justice suspended the conviction of the petitioners and granted them bail subject to furnishing surety bonds of Rs20,000 each. The petitioners were also directed to appear on the next hearing of the appeals.

A citizen had filed a case in the consumer court of D&SJ Rao Abdul Jabbar Khan pleading that he had been allotted an official residence in the Wapda Colony but the local administration had issued another allotment letter of the same house to a schoolteacher.

The petitioner alleged that a litigation clerk, Rana Mehboob Ali, of the local administration forcibly and unlawfully ousted him from the house.

The consumer court judge had summoned the DC and AC, however, they sent the litigation clerk to the court who also misbehaved the judge.

It is stated that the DC personally made a phone call to the judge asking him to set the litigation clerk free while the AC also appeared before the court and misbehaved the judge. Consequently, the judge convicted both officers under contempt of court charges.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2021

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