Friday Apr 22 2022
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Web Desk

LHC orders president to appoint another representative to administer oath to Punjab CM-elect

By |
Web Desk
Lahore High Court building. — AFP/File
Lahore High Court building. — AFP/File 

  • LHC orders to appoint a different representative to administer oath to Hamza Shahbaz. 
  • Hamza Shahbaz had filed plea against governor for not fulfilling his constitutional duty. 
  • CM-elect Hamza Shahbaz terms LHC's decision a "win for the Constitution."

LAHORE: Following Punjab Governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema's refusal to administer the oath to CM-elect Hamza Shahbaz, the Lahore High Court on Friday directed President Arif Alvi to appoint a different representative to administer the oath to the PML-N leader. 

The order was given by LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti on a plea filed by chief minister-elect Hamza Shahbaz against the Punjab governor for not fulfilling his constitutional duty. 

Before issuing the directives to the president, LHC had asked the governor to present the reasons for not giving the oath in writing by 2pm.

When the hearing resumed, LHC CJ Bhatti shared that the governor had excused himself from administering the oath to the CM-elect.

At this, he said that this leads to the question of what the court will have to decide.

On the other hand, PML-N's counsel Ashtar Ausaf Ali told the judge that the governor was not saying that he is not available but was refusing to administer the oath.

At this, the advocate-general of Punjab said that under Article 104, the governor had "complete rights" to refuse the oath.

However, the LHC CJ remarked that the governor cannot deny performing his duties and issued the short order. 

“[A] governor cannot refuse to administer oath. President of Pakistan should appoint another representative for the oath taking,” ruled LHC CJ in the short order.

The court also directed its office to dispatch the order with President Arif Alvi.

In a hearing held earlier in the day, Punjab Advocate-General Ahmed Owais in his arguments said: "The speaker can administer the oath if the governor refuses but the PA speaker has not been made a party in the petition".

The provincial law officer argued before LHC CJ Bhatti that the governor is of the view that the election of the chief minister was not held under the Constitution. At this, the CJ asked the AG to tell where it is written that the governor himself would witness the proceedings.

In response, the advocate-general said that the governor is not a rubber stamp authority, and an extraordinary situation took place on April 16 which had never happened before - a female member was injured and she is now fighting for her life.

The CJ remarked: “Whether this incident will nullify the proceedings of the House, today is the 21st day that there is no government in the province while this election was also held on the orders of the court. This court knows how the election took place. The governor should tell if he is absent or he cannot administer the oath.”

Advocate-General Ahmed Awais told the court that the governor has refused to administer the oath. At this, the chief justice asked him to give this in writing that the governor has refused to administer the oath so that the court can ask someone else to do the job.

The court said that it would issue an order if the governor does not make a decision. 

“Today, 21 days have passed and there is no government in the province. The governor of Punjab is not fulfilling his constitutional obligations. If the governor does not write a letter of refusal, the court will issue an order at 2pm,” the judge had said in the morning. 

'Win for Constitution': Hamza Shahbaz

Taking to Twitter, CM-elect Hamza Shahbaz termed the LHC's decision a "win for the Constitution."

He wrote: "There has been no government for 21 days in the province of 110 million people. The CM was elected under the court orders first and now the Constitution has won regarding the oath-taking."

Criticising the PTI members for not following the Constitution, Hamza said history will remember how they ridiculed the law and Constitution. "This province will lead towards the path of prosperity and development," he wrote.