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Ombudsman challenges LHC summons

Ombudsman challenges LHC summons

ISLAMABAD – Federal Ombudsman for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Thursday challenged the Lahore High Court order to summon her regarding her judgement over a harassment complaint.

Ombudsman Yasmin Abbasi filed the petition in the Supreme Court against the high court’s January 11 order over her judgement.
She stated the LHC had suspended her judgment passed on the complaint of a female lawyer and also summoned on the next date of hearing.

The petitioner made Saleem Javed Baig advocate Supreme Court and Khurram Baig, and Sumera Fazil Khan, advocates High Court, federal secretary law and Provincial Ombudsperson Punjab as respondents.
Former attorney general Irfan Qadir has drafted the petition.

According to the petition, a female lawyer had filed a complaint in Federal Ombudsman Secretariat for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace against two lawyers.
On January 4, the Federal Ombudsman decided the complaint in accordance with law but the LHC on January 11 suspended its order and directed Justice (retd) Yasmin Abbasi to appear before the court in person.

The petitioner said the LHC has no jurisdiction to entertain and adjudicate upon a matter which falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of an Ombudsman.

She contended that the order suffers from mala-fide in law as the complaint was against a male lawyer for harassing women lawyers.
She said the LHC judge involved the Presidents of the Supreme Court and Lahore High Court Bar Associations besides this fact they were neither a party to the case nor they were invited as amicus curiae.

It further stated that the LHC’s order is violative of Section 18 of Federal Ombudsmen Institutional Reforms Act, 2013.

It is further submitted that the order of Ombudsman was not challenged, elsewhere, in the prayer of writ and without any challenge, could the high court exercise jurisdiction under Article 199 of Constitution by suspending the same and initiating criminal proceedings against the petitioner.

The petition contends that the order and subsequent proceedings run counter to the letter and spirit of judges code of conduct according to which a judge of the superior court is expected to remain fully conversant with at least the basic knowledge of law, rules, procedure and apply the same in a just and fair manner which fully enables adequate opportunity to all and sundry when they are before the court or otherwise.

The Nation

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