Baaghi TV: The Lahore High Court On Thursday suspended a controversial local commission appointed by Punjab Ombudsperson Women to inspect, investigate the evidence and facts of a complaint moved by a lady Dr. Dalia Mahmood against Prof Dr. Khalid Masud Gondal Vice-Chancellor of King Edward Medical University over the charges of sexual harassment.
Justice Shahid Jamil Khan has also issued notices to Punjab Ombudsperson Women and Vice-Chancellor to submit their replies till 26 January.
The Lady Doctor, Dali Mahmood, challenged the appointment of the local commission in a constitutional writ petition moved through Advocate Mian Dawood and Imran Khan Klair.
The counsels of the petitioner argued that has filed a complaint before the Punjab Ombudsperson (Women) against the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of King Edward Medical University (KEMU) following a continuous hostile environment at the workplace and blackmailing specifically when the petitioner rejected the offer of marriage by the Vice-Chancellor.
They submitted that the ombudsperson admitted the compliant for regular hearing and sought a reply from the vice-chancellor.
After submission of the reply by the vice-chancellor in the complaint, the Punjab ombudsperson women appointed her legal consultant as commission and also delegated her judicial powers to him which is a violation of the mandate of The Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010 and principle of fair trial under Article 10A of the Constitution of Pakistan, the counsels added.
They pointed out that Ombudsperson’s powers for appointment of a commission for examination of the witnesses under subsection 4 of section 10 of the act has been clearly defined. “Under the law, it is the mandate of Ombudsperson to enter into any premises for the purpose of making any inspection or investigation, enter any premises where the Ombudsperson has a reason to believe that any information relevant to the case may be found, not the mandate of the commission appointed by the ombudsperson”, the lawyer maintained.
They pointed out that for the purposes of conducting any investigation, inspection or examining of the witnesses at the place or venue (KEMU) as mentioned in the Impugned commission where the alleged occurrence was occurring for the last two years approximately and where the accused is holding and controlling the position is against the spirit and mandate of the Workplace Act, 2010 and Article 10A of the Constitution of Pakistan because accused is misusing his official authority by way of preparing the post-dated and fabricated documents.
“Interestingly, the letter for appointment of the commission has been addressed to the VC KEMU who is accused in the sexual harassment complaint. The impugned letter gives the impression that trail court (ombudsperson) itself is going to the office of the accused of the recording of his statement as well as the statements of the witnesses”, the counsels pointed out, adding that this is sheer violation of fair trail and principle of the natural justice.
They requested the court to the impugned letter as illegal and in violation of the Article 10A of the constitution, and also interpret the powers and role of the commission and ombudsperson.
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