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Govt reply sought on plea against PA session in hotel

Lahore

July 3, 2020

LAHORE:The Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan on Thursday warned a woman lawyer/petitioner of heavy fine if she failed to prove that holding Punjab Assembly’s session in a private hotel was illegal.

At the outset of the hearing, the chief justice asked Advocate Anjum Hameed, the petitioner in person, to cite the law that clearly restricted from holding the assembly session outside the premises. He also observed that petitions should not be filed for media publicity. The lawyer stated that rules of business had not specified any place for the assembly’s session; however, public money had been misused by holding the session in a private place apparently due to Covid-19 pandemic. She said the impugned act amounted to disloyalty to the country.

Chief Justice Khan cautioned the petitioner-lawyer that she was trying to question the loyalty of all assembly members. A law officer opposed the petition and argued that Punjab governor had authorised the assembly speaker to hold the session at any appropriate place.

The CJ asked the government’s counsel whether the governor could delegate his power to the speaker. “What if speaker convenes the assembly session at his residence? May be some members do not like to attend the session at speaker’s residence,” he further asked the law officer. The CJ sought detailed reply from the government by next hearing and observed that the petition would be dismissed with a fine of Rs500,000 if the petitioner failed to establish her case. The lawyer in her petition contended that holding the assembly’s session in a private hotel with taxpayer money was against the austerity policy announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

She asked the court to summon complete detail of expenses incurred upon the sessions at a private place and order the authorities concerned to recover the amount.