LAHORE: Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman on Friday promulgated the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (Amendment) Ordinance 2023 to clip the wings of its director general for registering cases against public servants.

The ordinance renamed the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment Ordinance, 1961, as the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (Amendment) Ordinance 2023.

“It is necessary to amend the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment Ordinance, 1961, to provide for comprehensive provisions for just, fair, impartial and meaningful mechanism to safeguard the public servants from false, frivolous and fake complaints and prosecution and the matters ancillary thereto.

“Since the provincial assembly of the Punjab is not in session, Governor of the Punjab is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action,” the ordinance says.

Ordinance amended, promulgated

“The governor of the Punjab is pleased to make and promulgate the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (Amendment) Ordinance 2023 and the ordinance shall come into force at once.”

Its copy available with Dawn states “after completion of preliminary probe against any deputy commissioner, commissioner and secretary, if the director general or an officer of the Establishment decides that a criminal case is to be registered against a public servant, he shall, before registration of such criminal case, send a reference to obtain prior permission in writing for BPS-01 to BPS-16 from the appointing authority, for BPS-17 from the Secretary of the Administrative Department, for BPS-18 and BPS-19 from the Additional Chief Secretary Punjab and for a Deputy Commissioner of a District, Commissioner of a Division, Secretary to the Government, Head of an Attached Department or any other public servant in BPS- 20 and above, from the Chief Secretary.”

It further states that the “Secretary or the Additional Chief Secretary, Punjab or the Chief Secretary, as the case may be, may constitute a committee comprising of at least three members and may refer the reference to such committee for its examination.

“The committee shall give its recommendations to the Secretary or the Additional Chief Secretary, Punjab or the Chief Secretary, as the case may be, within 15 days from the receipt of the reference and the Secretary or the Additional Chief Secretary, Punjab or the Chief Secretary, as the case may be, shall decide whether to grant the permission for registration of criminal case against public servant or not.”

It also barred the ACE that “no public servant up to BPS-17 shall be arrested without prior permission in writing of the Administrative Secretary or Head of an Attached Department, as the case may be and no public servant in BPS-18 or BPS-19 shall be arrested without prior permission, in writing, of the Additional Chief Secretary, Punjab and no Deputy Commissioner of a District, Commissioner of a Division, Secretary to the Government, Head of an Attached Department, and no other public servant of BPS-20 and above shall be arrested without prior permission, in writing, of the Chief Secretary.”

It also inserted “revision section stating that the CS may, on his own motion or otherwise, call for the record of any case or preliminary probe, pending or finalized, for purposes of satisfying himself as to the correctness, legality or propriety of any order passed or decision taken in such preliminary probe by the DG or any other officer of the Establishment, under the Ordinance or rules made there under and may pass such order as he may deem fit.”

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2023

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