Tuesday October 03, 2023

SC reinstates Dogar as Lahore CCPO

Punjab caretaker CM had appointed Bilal Siddique Kamyana as Capital City Police Officer last month

February 18, 2023
Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Ghulam Mehmood Dogar. — Facebook/ file
Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Ghulam Mehmood Dogar. — Facebook/ file

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday reinstated Ghulam Mahmood Dogar as Capital City Police Officer of Lahore after suspending his transfer order made by the caretaker setup.

The appeal of the former CCPO challenging his transfer order was heard by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Muneeb Akhtar.

The court, after suspending the transfer order of Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, referred the matter to a bench already hearing cases of postings and transfers in the Punjab Police.

After transferring Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, the Punjab caretaker chief minister appointed Bilal Siddique Kamyana as Capital City Police Officer last month.

On January 23, Dogar was directed to report to the Services and General Administration (Punjab).

During the hearing on Friday, the DG (Legal) and the Election Commission secretary appeared before the court.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen asked about Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.

Umer Hameed, secretary of the Election Commission, informed the court that the CEC was ill and could not attend the proceedings. He submitted the Punjab government had made a verbal request to transfer Dogar on January 23, adding that the ECP had received the written request on January 24, which was approved on February 6.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen said that if any transfer was required, then the caretaker government had to provide concrete reasons for it. A verbal request was approved and orders were issued, the judge added.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar questioned the ECP secretary about how the official was transferred on a verbal order and who gave the CEC the authority to make such transfers.

“Whether the law allows anyone who calls to ask for transfer of an official,” Justice Muneeb Akhtar questioned, adding that the ECP was also required to hold a meaningful consideration and apply legal mind to the matter.

The judge said that without consulting other members of the Election Commission, the CEC cannot approve postings and transfers alone.

“Is there a precedent in the Election Commission for making postings and transfers based on verbal orders?” Justice Muneeb Akhtar asked.

The secretary submitted that earlier postings and transfers had been made by the commission. He contended that after a verbal request, they had also received a written request for the transfer of the petitioner (Dogar).

Justice Muneeb Akhtar again questioned whether the Election Commission has delegated its powers of postings and transfers to the CEC.

The ECP director-general (legal) told the court that there was no document to delegate the powers of the ECP.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar said that as per the constitutional requirement, elections must be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the provincial assembly.

When questioned by the court about the report on postings and transfers, the ECP requested more time.

At this point, Justice Muneeb Akhtar observed that the clock was ticking, adding that 90 days were about to expire and the Election Commission was asking for more time.

“It is the constitutional obligation of the Election Commission to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections, but it is asking for more time,” Justice Ahsen remarked.

During the hearing, Shoaib Shaheen, President of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association, also appeared before the court and submitted that he had also filed a constitutional petition in the apex court for the date of election.

He pleaded that it should also be heard at the earliest.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen told Shaheen that at the moment the matter before the court was about the transfer of the Lahore CCPO, and his petition was not before them.

The judge told the IHBA president that the matter of elections had been referred to the chief justice, adding that it was the prerogative of the CJP to form a bench and fix a date for hearing any matter.