ISLAMABAD - The federal government has challenged the Islamabad High Court’s order to reinstate Rashid Ahmad as Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman.
The government sacked Rashid last Sunday night, but the IHC on Monday declared the notification of his sacking null and void and reinstated him till disposal of a petition through which he had challenged his sacking.
Hafiz SA Rehman, on behalf of the federal government on Wednesday, filed a petition for leave to appeal under Article 185 (3) of the Constitution against the IHC’s December 16, 2013, order regarding the reinstatement of Pemra Chairman Rashid Ahmad.
The government in its petition contended that it was a well-settled proposition of law that object of passing an order as status quo was to maintain the situation prevailing on the date when the party concerned approached the court and not to create a new situation.
“Another well-settled principle of legal jurisprudence is that, generally, a court cannot grant an interlocutory relief of the nature which will amount to allowing the main case without hearing the same,” it added.
The government said Rashid Ahmad had not an arguable case as two essential factors – presence of balance of convenience which, in fact, was balance of inconvenience and cause of irreparable loss – did not exist and the relief by way of interim order could not be granted to him.
“Admittedly, the respondent (Rashid Ahmad) was not in office on December 16, 2013, when the impugned order was passed and also when the constitutional petition was filed, so the judge in chambers could not create a new situation by suspending the notification of appointment of petitioner No 3 (Rao Tehsin Ali Khan) to look after the day-to-day work of the office of Pemra chairman till the appointment of a regular incumbent.
It contended that the impugned order passed by the IHC judge in chamber was not maintainable in the eye of law and was required to be set aside. The petition further stated that the interim order, passed by the IHC judge, had resulted in disturbing the normal functions of Pemra, adding the IHC had no jurisdiction under Article 199 to pass that order because Rashid Ahmad was being governed by non-statutory rules.
It further said that according to Section 56 (d) of Specific Relief Act, relief claimed could not be granted to interfere with public duties of any department of the federal or provincial governments. The government in the petition stated that the IHC order was passed in ex-parte proceedings without hearing its point of view and without calling for any comments, which was in violation of the principles of natural justice and articles 4, 9, 10-A and 25 of the Constitution.
It further said the appointment of Rashid Ahmad as Pemra chairman was absolutely without any legal justification, misconceived and not tenable in law, besides being non-transparent and without any open competition.