Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed of the Lahore High Court on Thursday expressed displeasure with Punjab bureaucracy for ignoring court orders and remarked, “This court is well aware of how to ensure compliance with its orders.”
The judge was hearing a contempt of court petition against the Higher Education Department secretary, a Kasur district officer (Education) and the director of colleges for not appointing the petitioner as a head clerk at the Government College for Women in Kasur despite court orders in that regard issued nine months ago.
On Thursday, DO Zahid Ahmad and Director Naseem Akhtar appeared in court to defend their position in the case.
Ahmad said that he had been on leave for a year and was not aware of the court orders. This irked the judge who observes, “What kind of an officer are you? You should quit forthwith because you are a burden on public exchequer.” The judge summoned the Higher Education Department secretary and a police officer.
The judge said that if the secretary did not appear, both the DO and the director would be sent to jail. “Cell No 13 is lying vacant for them,” he added.
The secretary, Haseeb Athar, appeared in court eventually, but was unable to satisfy the court. Justice Saeed said that the bureaucracy had taken to ignoring court orders. He said that the civil servants should have no doubt that the High Court could force implementation of its orders.
The secretary tendered and unconditional apology and undertook to implement the order within a week. Justice Saeed directed the secretary to submit a compliance report within the week and to act against the officers who had defied court orders.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2011.