LHC orders President to appoint representative for Punjab CM-elect oath-taking

CJ Ameer Bhatti says governor cannot refuse administering oath to CM-elect: AG to challenge court's verdict: Delighted Hamza terms it victory of Constitution

By: News Desk
Published: 10:58 AM, 22 Apr, 2022
LHC orders President to appoint representative for Punjab CM-elect oath-taking
Caption: File photos.
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The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered President of Pakistan to appoint a representative for administering oath to Punjab chief minister-elect as the governor has expressed his inability to do so, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti announcing the verdict on the petition of CM-elect Hamza Shehbaz remarked that the governor cannot refuse to administer oath.

The advocate general of Punjab told the LHC chief justice that the governor would send the reasons for his refusal to administer oath to the chief minister-elect to the President of Pakistan within 24 hours.

Ignoring AG's statement, the chief justice said to Hamza Shehbaz’s lawyer Ashtar Ausaf “Would you like to say something or the court should start writing the verdict.” 

Ashtar Ausaf Ali then replied “According to the Constitution, the governor has no discretion to refuse oath to the chief minister-elect. He is bound to say yes. He cannot say no. Here, the governor is not saying he is not available rather he is refusing.”

“The governor has full powers in this regard under Article 104,” insisted the advocate general of Punjab.

At this, the chief justice said that the governor could not refuse to administer the oath.

The court also directed to send a copy of its verdict to the President of Pakistan.

Earlier, the Lahore High Court deferred the hearing for second time till 2pm warning the Punjab advocate general that if no letter was issued by that time, the court would pronounce its judgement. 

Earlier in the morning, the court deferred the hearing till 11am.

In his yesterday’s ruling, the chief justice directed the Punjab AG to seek Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema’s response regarding his reluctance to administer oath to the chief minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz. 

The advocate general told the court on Friday that the governor was sending his reason to President Arif Alvi. 

On this, Chief Justice Bhatti inquired by what time the governor would be able to finally dispatch his reason to the president. 

The provincial government's law official replied that the governor was not bound to give his reply to any court. 

The CJ said that for the last 21 days, the province was running sans any government and the governor was delaying submitting his response to the court for the last five or six days. 

On this, the advocate general said the governor had already told the court whatever he wanted to tell it regarding his refusal to administer the oath. He said it was a matter of dishonouring the entire nation. 

But the CJ asked the advocate general that he should clearly explain the governor that how necessary it was for him to send his reason for his refusal to the president. 

On this, the government law official assured the court that the governor would send his reason to the president soon and there would be no delay. 

Earlier, while deferring the hearing of Hamza Shehbaz’s oath-taking petition till 11am, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has sought the reason from Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema for not administering oath to the chief minister-elect.

The advocate general of Punjab, who appeared before the court for assistance in the case, was asked by LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti to tell the court at 11am the reason behind the Punjab governor’s reluctance to administer oath to CM-elect Hamza Shehbaz.

“The Punjab governor believes that the election of the Chief Minister of Punjab was not held according to the Constitution,” said the advocate general of Punjab.

“What will happen if Punjab governor does not want to administer the oath?” questioned the LHC chief justice. “The governor will have to tell reason if he does not want to administer oath,” stated he.

It is to be noted here that Hamza Shehbaz has obtained the services of Ashtar Ausaf Advocate for pursuing his case after the induction of his former lawyer Azam Nazir Tarar into the federal cabinet as law minister.

AG to challenge verdict

Meanwhile, Advocate General Punjab Ahmad Awais announced to challenge the LHC’s decision in Hamaz oath-taking case.

He said the governor was neither summoned nor heard. How can the court issue directive to the President when he was not party to the case, he asked.

It’s victory of Constitution: Hamza

Punjab Chief Minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz has welcomed the LHC decision, terming it a victory of the Constitution.

In a tweet uploaded on Friday, Hamza said “For 21 days, the 11 crore (people of the) province were without a government. Under the court orders, the first Chief Minister was elected and now the Constitution has won in terms of taking oath.”

He said “History will remember how the Constitution and the law were mocked in this era. Insha’Allah, this province will now be on the path of development and prosperity again.”

Reporter: Malik Ashraf