Karachi, (Parliament Times): Sindh High Court (SHC) here Tuesday gave last chance to the government to file their reply in a constitutional petition filed by Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman against a controversial law for giving powers to chief minister of Sindh to appoint the provincial ombudsman. During last hearing the SHC had issued notices to respondents on constitutional petition D-929/2020 and instructed them to appear in person or through their pleaders on March 3, 2020. However, on Tuesday the government side failed to submit their reply and comments on the petition. A SHC bench comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Yousuf Ali Saeed expressed displeasure on government attorney for his failure to file his reply and instructed him to file their comments by March 26. The court observed if the government side again failed to file comments on the next hearing on March 26, the court would hear the lawyer of PDP. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till March 26, 2020. 
The constitutional petition was filed by Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor against Establishment of the Office of Ombudsman for the Province of Sindh (Amendment) Act, 2020, and prayed the court to declare it as unconstitutional, illegal, void ab initio and of no legal effect. 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. Outside the premises of the SHC, talking to media, Altaf Shakoor and his lawyer Irfan Aziz Advocate
said that provincial government wants to keep the ombudsman office under its control so that it cannot dole out justice on complaints against the departments of provincial government of Sindh. They said independence of the ombudsman office is necessary for uphold of justice and to keep this crucial forum under the chief minister would be a miscarriage of law and justice.


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