LAHORE -  The Lahore High Court on Friday reserved verdict on an appeal of the Punjab government challenging order of a single bench regarding issuance of Model Town inquiry report.

A full bench headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh and comprising Justice Shehbaz Ali Rizvi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin reserved the judgment observing that soon it would be announced.

Advocate Khawaja Haris, the lawyer of the Punjab government, submitted his rejoinder and said there was apprehension that release of the Model Town inquiry report might create law and order situation.

On it the bench observed that transparent trial was the right of every citizen under the law of fair trial. “How is the fair trial possible without issuance of the inquiry report,” the bench further observed.

At this, Haris said Article 4 of the Constitution is quite clear about the fair trial while law and order should not be at stake for fair trial. He argued after getting inquiry done, it is prerogative of the government if it wants to keep it secret.

Haris also dispelled the impression that the government committed contempt of court by holding inquiry and holding investigation of the incident. He argued access to the information was conditional with terms and conditions under Article 19A of the Constitution.

Haris apprehended judicial inquiry report would be presented before the trial court conducting proceedings on private complaint of the respondent and, thus, it would prejudice the trial.

The victims lawyers and the lawyers of PAT had argued previously emphasising on the point that inquiry report should be released to the victims so that they could know who killed the people and who were responsible.

They said the single bench of Justice Naqvi had ordered publication of the report and termed it judicial proceedings. Being public document, it should be released, they pleaded. They said under Article 19 A of the Constitution, the citizens have the right to know the facts.  

In its appeal, Punjab government had said that the single bench’s decision lacked many legal and technical aspects as the same matter was lying pending before a Full Bench but the bench decided the petitioners plea regarding publication of Model Town incident. The government lawyers argued that why the single bench did not send the matter to the Full Bench, thus, the decision was beyond its jurisdiction. They had prayed the court to set aside the decision.

On Sept 21, a single bench comprising Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi ordered Punjab Home department to issue Model Town inquiry report to the affectees of the incident.

The judge had held that it was judicial proceedings and the aggrieved Constitutionally had the right to have this report to know who exactly the wrong doers were.

At least 14 people died and 85 others got injured when clash erupted between police and PAT workers over the issue of barriers put outside Minhajul Quran Secretariat in June 2014.