LHC. All would be clear if SC’s decision had a retrospective effect. CJ Bhatti CJ LHC imposes fine of Rs100,000 on CM Hamza, others for not complying with court order

CJ LHC Muhammad Ameer Bhatti imposes fine of Rs100,000 on CM Hamza, others for not complying with court order

LAHORE ( web news )

The Chief Justice Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs100,000 on Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, the Punjab government, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari and others over non-compliance with the court’s order.

In previous proceedings, LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti had sought replies from the aforesaid by May 25 on different petitions filed for declaring the contest held on April 16 for the chief minister’s CM’s slot in Punjab Assembly as null and void.

The CJ had also sought the input of the respondent’s lawyers on “whether the Supreme Court’s decision about defecting lawmakers will have the retrospective effect”.

The petitions had been filed by the PTI’s lawmakers including Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervez Elahi.

As the proceedings commenced on Wednesday, Additional Advocate General Jawad Yaqoob, who could not submit a reply owing to his illness, sought time for doing the same. Similarly, Hamza’s lawyer also sought time for submitting the reply.

Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Parvez Elahi’s counsel Barrister Syed Ali Zafar argued that the Hamza had lost the majority after the SC decision of de-seating 25 PTI MPAs who defected from the party’s policy.

To this, CJ Bhatti remarked that it was not the question of whether Hamza had lost the majority but if the apex court’s decision had a retrospective effect. All would be clear if SC’s decision had a retrospective effect.

Justice Bhatti, however, said that the case couldn’t proceed without listening to the arguments of the respondents. “Once the responses are submitted, we will hear the case on a daily basis,” he added.

The high court fixed May 30 with directions to respondents for submitting replies.

Hamza was elected as the Punjab CM on April 16, during a provincial assembly session that was marred by mayhem. He received a total of 197 votes — 11 more than the required 186 — including from 25 dissident PTI MPAs that were crucial for his victory.

The PML-N leader faced several delays in assuming charge of the CM Office because of then Punjab governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema’s refusal to administer him oath.

Hamza approached the LHC thrice, seeking directions for his oath to be administered. He was finally sworn in on April 30, by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

Speaker Elahi in his petition requested the court to examine the person who claimed to be the chief minister and whether he obtained the required number of votes in the contest. If he had not received the required votes then Hamza had no right to sit in CM’s office. He sought a fresh election for CM’s slot.

It is worth mentioning that two more separate petitions had been filed in the CJ’s court — one sought the removal of Hamza as chief minister and the second for declaring null and void the contest on CM’s slot held on April 16 in the Punjab Assembly.

Ellahi further prayed the court to declare that respondent Hamza was not the chief minister of Punjab as he had not secured the requisite number of votes as required under the Constitution. The contest held on April 16, the results of the election and the certificate issued by the respondent Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari, be declared null and void.

All consequential actions taken by the Hamza in his purported capacity as the provincial chief executive and all and any other communications made, orders passed or notifications issued be set aside and declared to be null and void, the petition further prayed.

The petition further prayed that directions be issued for holding fresh elections for the post of Punjab chief minister according to the Constitution and the law. The oath administered to Hamza be set aside, it added.

Petitioner senior advocate Mushtaq Ahmed Mohal filed the petition after the apex court’s interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution.

He contended that after the Supreme Court’s interpretation, Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz Sharif had lost his constitutional right to remain in power and requested that the court restrain him from holding office as had lost the majority in the provincial assembly.

He requested the court to declare all measures and actions adopted by the incumbent chief minister as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

The petitioner also asked the court to restrain Hamza from performing his duties as the chief minister of Punjab and that the bureaucracy – including the chief secretary – be stopped from obeying Hamza’s orders.