LAHORE - The Punjab government has decided to challenge the Lahore High Court single bench judgment by filing an intra court appeal (ICA).

Sources in the power corridors told this paper that an intra-court appeal would be filed in the LHC to get a stay order.

Till the final outcome of the case, the appointment of the acting VCs would remain in doldrums, they said. However, they said that the recommendations of the specially constituted committee by the chief minister office would be considered.

The committee headed by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan and comprising Secretaries Law, Higher Education, Advocate General Punjab etc would meet today and forward its recommendations to the government.

“In principle it has been decided to challenge the LHC single bench verdict,” said a senior officer of the CM Office.

“The committee could recommend implementation of the LHC order to the extent of the removal of VCs on look-after charge and replacing them by the senior most professors,” said the officer. However, the part of the order that excludes the Punjab government’s role in the appointment of VCs would for sure be challenged in the ICA, the officer stressed.

He said that at this stage it would be hard for the provincial government to roll back all the steps it had taken in the far past.

“All the VCs had been appointed by the HED since the parliament passed 18th amendment in the constitution,” the officer said. He said that the provincial Higher Education Commission was established after the Punjab assembly passed the bill.

Talking on the VCs appointment case, an HED official requesting anonymity told that the department received certified copy of the LHC order Tuesday hence the countdown of court given seven days started on this day.

He said that before the completion of the term the government would for sure file the appeal and would try to get the status quo.

He rejected the petitioner counsels’ version that as the government had failed to implement the court judgment it had to face contempt petitions.

Senior advocates Azhar Siddiq and Saad Rasool who represented the petitioners in the VCs case had said that as the time given by the LHC was over so they would file the contempt of court very soon.

An additional Secretary Education department confirmed that a major circle of the policy makers in the government wanted to implement the Lahore High Court’s decision of striking down the appointment of acting vice chancellors at four public universities of the province and initiating process for the induction of new VCs in four universities.

He said that the litigation damaged government image on education reforms and education circles criticized the Punjab government on its stance on the VCs in four universities.

Quoting LHC judgment “This shall apply to the Universities in which the tenure of the Vice Chancellors has come to an end and the Vice Chancellors are continuing in office on an acting-charge basis under the directives of the Chancellor,” he said prima facie the order was specific to the universities where VCs were continuing after completion of their term.

When contacted a senior lawyer Naseer Ahmad Kamboh said that the government usually started countdown on the day it got certified copy of the court order. “The government by filing ICA in the LHC or challenging in the apex court could prolong the litigation,” Kamboh added.  The petitioners’ counsels could also file contempt writ petitions as they thought that the time was over, the lawyer stated.