LHC orders chemical plant’s closure

EPA had challenged an environment tribunal’s decision

Rana Tanveer April 10, 2016
Lahore High Court. PHOTO: LHC.GOV.PK

LAHORE: Last week, a green bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) had ordered closure of a chemicals manufacturing company in Multan on a petition moved by the Environment Protection Department (EPA).

Assistant Advocate General Anwaar Hussain told the court that the EPA had directed the company in April 2012 to meet the department’s requirements. “The company did not comply with the directions. The department issued a notice to the company in June 2012 and its permit was cancelled in July 2013,” he said. The company had then challenged the cancellation of the permit in an environmental protection tribunal.

Hussain said the tribunal had set aside the department’s decision and restored the company in May 2014.

The counsel said the company had not been taking steps for environment protection because of which pollution had increased in the area. He said scores of residents had complained about this.

After hearing the arguments, the bench, comprising Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Shujat Ali Khan, stopped the company from operating till further notice and issued notices to the respondents. The court directed police to assist the department in enforcement of the court order.

Christian divorce

Last week, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah of LHC sought assistance from the attorney general of Pakistan on a petition challenging repeal of Section 7 of the Christian Divorce Act.

The judge directed the attorney general to appear on May 12. The judge ordered a proclamation be put in newspapers, inviting suggestions on the issue from Christian lawmakers in the Provincial Assembly and the National Assembly.

Former bishop Alexander John Malik had submitted that Section 7 of Divorce Act 1869 should be restored.

Hina Jillani, an amicus curie (friend of court), supported the petitioner’s view. She said the legislature had failed to reform the law. She said scores of Christians were confused about regulations regarding divorce.

Ameen Masih, a resident of Youhanabad had filed the petition. Advocate Sheraz Zaka, counsel for the petitioner, said the original law had allowed the courts to decide petitions regarding divorce.

He said the provision was omitted through Federal Laws (Revision and Declaration) Ordinance, 1981 during former president Ziaul Haq’s regime.

He said that in the United Kingdom, the Matrimonial Causes Act provided a cushion to Christian couples to part ways if marriage had broken down irretrievably. He said such grounds for divorce were not available in Pakistan for Christians.

He said the only ground available in the law was for a man to divorce his wife through allegations of adultery. He said this was derogatory. He said it was shocking that for three decades, no law had been enacted for protection of Christian minorities. “It has been more than 145 years since the Divorce Act 1869 was reformed,” he said. He said there was no regulatory mechanism for registration of marriages and divorces.

He requested the court to declare the omission of Section 7 of Divorce Act 1869 unconstitutional.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th,  2016.


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