On Tuesday, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed made it clear that he was not in favour of the high court taking suo motu notice of issues either.
Justice Saeed, who took oath on November 16, 2011, is yet to take a suo motu notice. His predecessor, Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif, was known for taking such notices.
During his tenure from April 14, 2009 to August 12, 2010 as Lahore High Court chief justice, Sharif took about 300 suo motu notices, according to a few lawyers The Express Tribune talked to.
“The high court does not have the jurisdiction to take suo motu notice,” noted the chief justice at a comment by the petitioner’s counsel. He was hearing a petition that has challenged the reappointment of Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran as Punjab University’s vice chancellor.
During the course of hearing, petitioner’s counsel Aftab Ahmad Bajwa said that the vice chancellor had “misused” Rs30 million by spending the university funds on arrangements for a laptop distribution ceremony. Bajwa said that Kamran had used university funds despite court orders restraining him from doing so.
The instance, Bajwa said, was “perfect for taking suo motu notice”.
“An aggrieved person should file a petition after paying Rs500 as court fee,” the chief justice remarked, adding that under Article 184 of the Constitution only the Supreme Court had the authority to take suo motu notices.
On Tuesday, Prof Kamran’s new counsel Advocate Akram Sheikh appeared before the court and sought time from the court to prepare his case. He asked that he be given extra time to prepare for the case because he was busy representing US businessman Mansoor Ijaz in the Memogate case.
CJ Saeed adjourned the hearing till May 4, saying it was the respondent’s last chance.
Fayaz Ahmad Mehr has filed the petition and contended that the respondent was reappointed on January 1, 2012 in violation of rules.
He alleges that Kamran has been involved in financial and appointment irregularities.
He has described the reappointment as a violation of the Punjab University Act as well as Supreme Court judgments forbidding re-employment of retired personnel.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2012.