LHC extends stay on governor's order to denotify CM Elahi for another day

LHC extends stay on governor's order to denotify CM Elahi for another day


LHC extends stay on governor's order to denotify CM Elahi for another day

 LAHORE – The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday extended suspension of the Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman’s order to denotify Chief Minister Parvez Elahi for a day as hearing was adjourned till Jan 12.

A five-member bench headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh and comprising Justice Chaudry Iqbal, Justice Muzammil Akhtar Shabir, Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh and Justice Asim Hafeez heard the petition filed by Mr Elahi against the denotification order.
At the outset of the hearing, Justice Sheikh asked if the matter was still undecided. Mr Elahi’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar said all issues would be resolved in court.

The governor’s lawyer argued that the chief minister had sufficient time to secure the trust vote after the high court suspended the notification. He said taking no trust vote from the assembly during this period showed their bad intentions. He asked the court to fix a time period for the confidence vote.

Justice Sheikh remarked that the governor had authority to ask the chief minister to get the vote of confidence. How much time is needed to get the trust vote, he questioned Mr Zafar. He said the governor had offered to withdraw the notification if the chief minister takes the vote of confidence. The judge also offered to fix a date for the trust vote in the provincial assembly, adding that the bench would decide the case on merit if the issue was not resolved.

However, Barrister Ali Zafar rejected the Governor’s offer, saying he wanted to submit his arguments in the case. He highlighted that Mr Elahi’s re-election as chief minister five months ago showed his strength in the assembly.

Justice Asim Hafeez remarked that the chief minister had an opportunity to secure the trust vote after the case was adjourned last month. He added the chief minister should have confidence of the majority of lawmakers all the time.

On Dec 23, the high court suspended Governor Balighur Rehman’s notification of denotifying Elahi as the provincial chief executive. It issued the order after the chief minister submitted an undertaking that he would not dissolve Punjab assembly until he obtained a vote of confidence from the house.

Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman s lawyer argued that the governor would take his notification regarding removal of Mr Elahi from holding the CM office back provided that the court bound the CM not to dissolve the assembly. Justice Asim Hafeez remarked that the Article 130 of the Constitution of Pakistan barred the court from halting the CM to dissolve the assembly after the court conceded to the governor s offer. "You must submit your undertaking in writing as we have to find a common ground for both parties", he added.

Later, the court had issued notices to the governor, the Attorney General, and others, and adjourned the hearing till Jan 11.
Governor Rehman denotified Chief Minister Parvez Elahi last month, stating that it was believed that the chief minister did not have the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly. The notification further stated that the Punjab cabinet had been dissolved. Parvez Elahi would continue to hold office until the election of the new leader of the House, it said.

“Consequent to the facts that Ch Pervaiz Elahi, Chief Minister Punjab refrained from obtaining vote of confidence at 1600 hrs yesterday, in line with an Order under Article 130(7) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan issued under my hand on 19t December 2022, in line with Rule 22(7) of the Rules of Procedure of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab, 1997, and that he still has not done so even after the lapse of another twenty four hours, I am satisfied that he does not command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Punjab Assembly, and therefore ceases to hold his office with immediate effect,” reads the notification.