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LDA DG to governor: ‘Only ombudsman can grill me’

December 17, 2012

LAHORE, Dec 16: Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Director General Ahad Cheema says that only ombudsman can issue him notice regarding any malpractices and that the law empowers neither the governor nor any other authority to issue him contempt notice.

Punjab Governor Latif Khosa had issued a contempt notice to Mr Cheema on Dec 3 for his not developing a public park over 7.6 acres in Johar Town as per the master plan of 1982. The governor had sought withholding of salaries of the director general if he failed to comply with the directive. Mr Cheema in his reply to the governor questioned the legality of the notice.

“The scheme of the 1997-Act is that a complaint of ‘maladministration’ in terms of section 2(2) is required to be submitted to the Ombudsman,” reads the reply submitted to the governor.

“In any case, the governor is not vested with the authority to take cognizance of such a complaint on the original side and doing so is tantamount to arrogating the powers and functions of the Ombudsman.”

It says that section 16 of the 1997-Act empowers the Ombudsman to punish  any person for its contempt on the grounds mentioned therein.

“However, any party including an Agency may submit a representation to the governor against the order of the Ombudsman.”

The reply reads that in any case the  governor is not vested with the authority to take cognizance of such a complaint on the original side.”

The reply says that it is a settled principle of law that a public functionary, whosoever highly placed he/she may be, can exercise only such jurisdiction as the law vests in it and cannot assume jurisdiction otherwise.

The reply does not address the issue of the park raised by the governor.