LAHORE - The LHC sought reply from a returning officer of UC-107 (Lahore) on a petition seeking contempt of court proceedings against him for not deciding an objection petition against Khawaja Ahmad Hassan for his candidature for chairman of the UC.

Justice Shahid Karim of the LHC heard the case. The Judge adjourned further hearing for Oct 26.

Aziz Masood, a voter of the UC, had filed the petition through Advocate Sheraz Zaka and pointed out that the RO violated the court’s order and did not hear his objection.

He also submitted that Mr Hassaan had already held a public office as vice chairman of Lahore Development Authority and also had got involved with local government administration by being a director of Lahore Waste Management Company.

He said the RO accepted the nomination papers of Hassaan without deciding his objection. He said Section 27 of the Local Government Act 2013 says “a person who is in the service of a statutory body controlled by a provincial government is not eligible to contest the election of local bodies,”.

He requested the court to initiate contempt proceedings against him for defying the court’s order.

Verdict reserved: The Lahore High Court yesterday reserved its verdict on a number of petitions seeking directions for direct election on reserved seats of local bodies’ election and challenging phase wise election in Punjab.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf, Pakistan Awami Party and others had filed the petitions against phase wise local bodies’ election and selection on reserved seats for minorities, women, youth and farmers.

The counsels of the petitioners argued that secret balloting was important for all kind of elections under Article 140 of the Constitution. They contended that Punjab government passed a new law on local bodies’ election and barred direct election of the minorities, youth, women and farmers. They said it was against the Constitution. Section 13 of the Punjab Local Government Act 2015 was contrary to the Constitution and against the fundamental rights of the citizens, they argued.

The petitioners’ counsels requested the judge to set aside Section 13 of the Local Government Act and order the government to hold secret balloting for all kind of elections including the LG polls.

However, the law officers on behalf of the government opposed the arguments saying that that the petitions against the law were not maintainable. They had pleaded the court to dismiss the petitions.

After hearing both sides, Justice Ijazul Ahsan of the LHC reserved the verdict on the petitions.