KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) warned on Friday all the government officials to remain careful and comply with the court's directives in letter and spirit. It also warned that strict action will be initiated against such officials for delaying action on the court's directives.
The warning came during the hearing of a human rights case relating to the increasing contamination in Manchar Lake, the largest freshwater reservoir in Asia.
Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali issued contempt of court notices on Friday to the secretaries of the federal finance, planning, water and power ministries. The bench also comprised Justice Amir Hani Muslim.
The SC further cautioned that bailable warrants of arrest will be issued for the three federal secretaries if they fail to appear before the court on the next hearing. The show-cause notices say why they should not be proceeded against for contempt of court over defiance of the court's directives for measures to contain the growing level of contamination in Manchar Lake.
The apex court had been expressing its displeasure over the failure of the federal authorities to issue funds for the completion of the Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD) project in compliance with its earlier directives. The RBOD is a canal designed to reduce salinity in the lake.
On August 24, the court had ordered the finance and planning ministries to ensure the required funds for the completion of RBOD-I and RBOD-III were released to complete the project in order to contain contamination in the lake.
During Friday's proceedings, the bench members were visibly irked as the secretaries for the three federal ministries remained absent. The additional attorney-general said that the court's order was duly communicated to the finance secretary. This irked the bench members, who took strong exception to attitude of the senior officers towards compliance of the directives issued by the court. They observed that any officer found violating the court's directives and/or orders will not be allowed to leave the country.
Justice Muslim stated that the officers who will deliberately violate the court's orders cannot be allowed to serve on their posts.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Water and Power Development Authority informed the bench that the issue of provision of potable water to the residential localities surrounding the lake will be resolved with the completion of the RBOD-I and RBOD-III project.
The court warned that bailable warrants of arrest will be issued for the three secretaries through the Islamabad SSP with a direction to procure their attendance in the court.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2016.
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