SHC adjoins hearing of petition against Ombudsman Office amendment bill


KARACHI, AUG 11 (DNA) – Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday adjourned to September 09 for final hearing a constitutional petition (D-929/2020) of Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor, in which he has challenged the Establishment of the Office of Ombudsman for the Province of Sindh (Amendment) Act 2020.

Pasban lawyer Irfan Aziz said all parties to the case have now submitted their respective replies. He said the last reply was submitted today and the case was adjourned for final hearing.

He said the matter was discussed in detail and the honourable court observed that the Universities (amendment) Act was also enacted in a similar way. Legal argument is the case would be given on the next date.

The background of this case is that Petitioner Altaf Shakoor, making province of Sindh through chief secretary, Sindh provincial assembly through its speaker, Sindh chief minister and governor respondent, had maintained that respondent chief minister and his government has targeted the Provincial Ombudsman office as it is the hurdle in the way of corrupt practices and mal-administration of various departments under the government of Sindh.

He maintained that the respondent Chief Minister has targeted and jeopardized, and taken over the powers of respondent Governor for the appointment of the Provincial Ombudsman under the umbrella of Provincial Assembly by malafidely misusing the majority of political seats and representation in the Assembly without any debate and giving chance to the opposition to raise objections.

He maintained that respondent Chief Minister has delegated the power to himself to appoint the Provincial Ombudsman to check corruption of in departments under his administration, which is against the principle of law, constitution, principle of natural justice, general clauses act, and thus is illegal, unconstitutional, void ab initio.

It is submitted that it is the golden principle of law that nobody can be judge of his own cause, and getting power to appoint ombudsman means that accused has become a judge against allegations leveled to him.

He said the theme and scheme of Institution of Ombudsman is to eradicate the corruption and mal-administration amongst the Provincial Government offices by impartial person appointed by the Respondent Governor to discharge the duty.

He said that the Provincial Legislative Assembly has no lawful power and authority to pass the impugned Act without debate and with incomplete quorum and without fulfilling the lawful and constitutional formalities.

The petitioner prayed to declare the impugned Act, i.e. Establishment of the Office of Ombudsman for the Province of Sindh (Amendment) Act, 2020, as unconstitutional, illegal, void ab initio and of no legal effect; to  direct the respondents to produce and present before this Hon’ble Court the attendance, proceedings and debate in passing of this Act in the Provincial Sindh Assembly; to restrain the respondents, their servants, agents, subordinates and anybody else claiming through or under them not to implement the impugned Act, 2020, and also restrain them from proceeding further on the impugned Act, 2020, and to suspend the operation of the impugned Act, 2020, pending the final decision of this Hon’ble Court. = DNA