Designation of an Officer to Process Representation does not Affect Power of the President to Decide the Same: SC

Share

A seminal judgment ,in case titled as Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain etc Vs. Zubaida Chaudhary etc, on the interpretation of section 14 (4) of the Federal Ombudsman Institutional Reforms Act, 2013, which designates and empowers an officer to process a representation filed before the President. The Court had to decide the question whether the power of the President to decide such representation has been delegated to the designated officer after the promulgation of section 14 (4) of the 2013 Act. Before answering this question, lets have a look at the background of the case.

A lady filed a complaint to the Federal Ombudsman wherein she alleged that she had been harassed by respondent. The Ombudsman decided the complaint in favor of the lady and imposed minor penalty of fine up to 100000/ PKR on the respondent. Both of the parties were not happy with the outcome of the case and they approached the President by filling representation to him, the lady was seeking the enhancement of the punishment and the respondent was seeking setting aside of the decision of the Ombudsman. The President accepted representation of the lady and rejected the respondent’s plea. The respondent then filed a writ petition before the Islamabad High Court to address his grievances.

The High Court did not advert to the merits of the case and held that since the adjudicatory authority is the President himself and not the designated officer under section 14 (4) of the 2013 Act, he could not have delegatedย  his decision making power to such an officer. The High Court erred in understanding the distinction between the power of the President and that of the designated officer to process the representation. The High Court interpreted that process of representation on the part of the designated officer amounts to delegate power of the president to such an officer. Thus, this is not tenable in the eyes of law and the case was remanded back to the President to decide a fresh after application of mind independently.

A CPLA was filed in the Supreme Court to challenge the judgment of the High Court. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah of the Supreme Court held in this judgment that processing a representation is to help and facilitate the President to arrive at just and fair conclusion of a case in short time. Empowering or designating a person to process a representation does in no way amount to delegation of power to decide.ย  The word process means ‘ a series of acts or steps towards achieving the required objective’. The views which are expressed in the form of recommendations by the designated officer form part of the procedure to process the representation before it is sent to the President to decide with application of mind. The views of the officer does not form part of the decision.

In the conclusion, the Court set aside the judgment of the High Court and held that section 14 (4) does not confer upon the designated officer any power of decision makingย  nor does it share or delegate power of the President with the officer.

This judgment can be downloaded from the link below:

Click to Downloadย 

c.p._1942_2022

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top