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Replies sought on plea against PHEC head appointment criterion


May 22, 2019

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Tuesday sought replies from the Punjab government and secretary higher education on a petition challenging the search committee and criterion set for the appointment of Punjab Higher Education Commission (HEC) chairperson.

Government College University Lahore Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah moved the petition terming the process adopted by the search committee unlawful. The search committee under challenge comprised of Dr Attaur Rehman as convener, Dr Arif Nazir Butt, Dr Khalid Aftab and Shahid Najam.

At the outset of the hearing, Advocate Rana Asadullah Khan argued on behalf of the petitioner that his client secured 94 of 100 qualification points, but had not been invited for interview by the committee. He said the committee failed to perform its duty in accordance with principles of justice, equity, fair play and transparency. He pointed out that the higher education department notified short-listing criteria according to which candidates scoring 75 points would be short-listed for the interview. However, he said the committee acted discriminately against the petitioner by not calling him for an interview despite meeting the criteria.

The counsel argued that the search committee did not enjoy unfettered power or discretion; therefore, its action was arbitrary, unlawful and unreasonable. He asked the court to declare that the process adopted by the search committee constituted for the appointment of PHEC chairperson was without lawful authority and was of no legal effect.

Moreover, he said the committee be directed to act strictly in accordance with the law and its notified mandate. The counsel urged the court to restrain the provincial government from acting upon the legally flawed recommendations of the search committee. However, Justice Ayesha A Malik turned down the request for stay order and sought replies from the respondents by May 29.

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