Pakistan

LHC rejects CCPO’s request to set aside suspension notification


The Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected on Tuesday Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore Ghulam Mahmood Dogar’s request to set aside the notification concerning his suspension.

As the proceedings commenced, Justice Muzamil Akhtar Shabir was told that neither was any show cause notice issued to Dogar, nor was he properly heard before his suspension.

The CCPO's counsel argued that the federal government had just issued a "one-line directive". To this, the court remarked that the directives always comprise of one line.

Justice Muzamil remarked that if this matter was entertained then the petitioner will ask to be appointed as per his whim.

He said that the matter was related to and should be dealt by the service tribunal. The court cannot intervene in a matter between the federation and province, he noted, disposing of the matter and directing Dogar to approach the relevant forum.

The CCPO’s counsel argued that the Supreme Court (SC) had declared that the court could intervene if it observes that a transfer was made for vested interests. However, Justice Muzamil observed that the SC made that decision on a specific matter.

Further, the counsel argued that the CCPO’s authority was the chief minister, adding that the petitioner had also submitted an application before the federal government. However, rather than hearing his application the federal government suspended him.

The counsel said that Dogar had not been told the actual cause of his suspension nor informed about any pending inquiry.

The additional attorney general told the court that the police service was not only confined to the province. The head of the relevant department could initiate proceedings against those who come on deputation, the CCPO's counsel argued.

The chief secretary had refused to surrender his services, the CCPO’s counsel implored to the court. The other officers are confused as they are unaware under whose command they have to work, said the counsel.

The petition

Petitioner, CCPO Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, had challenged in the LHC the notification through which the federal government suspended him over not ensuring security of the Governor House during a concerning Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protest against former prime minister Imran Khan’s assassination attempt during the long march.

Read LHC moved for release of accused in IK assassination bid

He maintained in his petition that the two notifications were issued on November 5, 2022 (wherein he has been suspended) and on September 20, 2022 (whereby he had been transferred and directed to report to the Establishment Division) with a request to court to declare them illegal and unlawful.

He further requested the court that a letter issued on October 27, 2022 (whereby the petitioner was required to relinquish the charge and report to the Establishment Division within 3 days) also be declared arbitrary, illegal and unlawful.

He pleaded that the two aforesaid notifications and a letter also be set aside on the ground that the provincial government had restrained the petitioner from relinquishing charge till further order of the competent authority, Punjab chief minister.

He implored in his petition that the respondent federation of Pakistan through its secretary first transferred the petitioner from the Punjab province and directed him to report to the Establishment Division, Islamabad.

Responding to it, the government of Punjab S&GAD Department requested the federal government to withdraw the above mentioned notification. The Punjab government also requested the federal government for provision of the allegations complaint against the petitioner. However, the federal government did not respond to the said letter and the reply is still awaited.

However, on October 27, 2022, the petitioner was directed to report to the Establishment Division within three days of issuance of this letter, failing which disciplinary proceedings under the Civil Servants (Efficiency & Discipline) Rules, 2020 were to be initiated against the petitioner.

However, the government of Punjab again directed the petitioner through IGP Punjab, to continue as CCPO Lahore and has not allowed him to relinquish charge.

He submitted that as per Rule 23(1) read with 4th Schedule of Punjab Government Rules of Business, 2011, it is the Punjab chief minister who has the authority to pass orders regarding matters of appointment, promotion, posting and transfer of posts inter alia the CCPO Lahore.

He implored in his petition that the Establishment Division had transferred the services of the petitioner with the direction to report to the Establishment Division on the basis of complaint, in order to initiate enquiry in terms of Rule 6 of the Civil Servants (E&D) Rules 2020.

In the case of all members of Pakistan Service posted in a province, the Establishment Division was to refer the case to the chief secretary concerned for probe or fact finding inquiry. However, no complaint or allegations have been forwarded to the Punjab chief secretary by the Establishment Division so far. Thus, the whole exercise prima facie appears to be based on malafide.


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