Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Tuesday ordered the Punjab government to establish a taskforce to check the corruption of patwaris at district level in the Revenue Department.
The court held that taskforce for revenue department should make surprise visits to various revenues Halqa/ offices of patawris across a district and probe into corruption of patwaris, who not only take huge bribe for day to day work but also eat up the government’s share of the mutation fees that should be deposited in national kitty.
The CJ sought a comprehensive report from the Punjab government in this regard by December 14. The chief justice was hearing a contempt petition against the district coordination officer, Lahore, and others officers of revenue department for not issuing a fard-malkiat (ownership papers) to a petitioner despite court orders. The petition was filed by Khalid Saeed wherein he named the Lahore DCO, Tehsildar Cantt and Halqa Patwari. As the proceedings started on Tuesday, Lahore DCO Ahad Cheema submitted a report stating that 14 patwaris had been dismissed and 19 suspended on corruption charges.
The DCO assured the court that efforts were in process to control corruption in the Revenue Department. However, the CJ observed that it was not the solution to the problem. The Punjab government’s counsel added that action was being taken per law. The CJ after hearing the arguments ordered formation of a taskforce comprising senior officers to check corruption of patwaris.
The petitioner submitted that he had filed a petition for issuance of fard and the LHC disposing the same on March 3 directed to issue a copy within 10 days.
The petitioner submitted that he approached the patwari after the court order and requested him to issue fard. However, despite repeated requests the needful was not done, he added. He prayed the court to issue directions for issuance of fard and contempt proceedings be started against the officials. Earlier, the court was informed that Halqa Patwari Mehboob had been dismissed from service under PEEDA Act whereas the fard had also been issued to the petitioner.
LHC seeks reply on petition challenging DCO’s appointment
The Lahore High Court chief justice on Tuesday sought reply within two weeks from the Punjab government on a petition challenging the political appointment of Ahad Khan Cheema as district coordination officer (DCO) Lahore. The petition was filed by Supreme Court Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique contending that Cheema was a grade 18 officer and has been appointed as a grade 20 DCO for political reasons in sheer violation of section 26 of the Local Government Ordinance. The petitioner-counsel pleaded that Punjab government chose a junior officer out of merit for the slot of Lahore DCO, risking the city’s mismanagement during the dengue epidemic. Bringing the history of the favoritism in case of Cheema, the counsel said prior to appointment as Lahore DCO, Cheema was also appointed as a grade 20 Higher Education Department secretary when he was a grade 17 officer. As secretary higher education, the counsel said, he introduced online computerised examination system in education boards which not only failed completely but also destroyed the future of many students but he was not held responsible for it and was promoted by the government in grade 18 and later placed on seat of DCO Lahore. Azhar pleaded that as a DCO, Cheema had proved to be a failure since he had not been able to control dengue. He prayed to the court to annul Cheema’s appointment as DCO and pass orders for punitive action and inquiry against him for negligence in controlling dengue virus that rose to horrible proportions due to substandard fumigation and sprays or lack of the same in various parts of the city, adding that the DCO also be stopped from getting reappointed somewhere else in larger public interest.