Supreme Court Gives More Powers To ACE

The Supreme Court on Friday suspended certain clauses of ‘The Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment Rules 2014’, which made it mandatory for the provincial ACE to obtain chief minister’s permission before taking any action against top-level bureaucrats, working in BS-20 or above. A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took up a complaint, filed by ACE Director General Hussain Asghar.

These rules were made during previous rule of Pakistan Muslim League by the then governor on February 7, 2014 in exercise of powers under Section 6 of the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment Ordinance 1961. The ACE DG had written a letter to Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, stating that all such powers should be vested with the office of the director general, instead of the chief minister.

Hussain Asghar, through his counsel Mian Zafar Iqbal Kalanuri, stated that it is compulsory for the body to take permission from the chief minister before initiating proceedings against any senior bureaucrat.

“If the chief minister does not give a go-ahead, the body cannot even file an FIR against a bureaucrat,” the counsel said. The CJ remarked that it is unconstitutional and illegal to seek permission from the chief minister before initiating criminal proceedings against a bureaucrat. It is completely against the spirit of criminal law of justice, the chief justice added. The court subsequently suspended Rules 5, 6 and 10 of the ACE, in which certain sub-rules pertain to obtaining the chief minister’s permission prior to taking action against senior bureaucrats.

The court also ordered that a pending anti-corruption inquiry before the Lahore High Court should be wrapped up within two weeks. The CJP on Friday directed the police DIG to trace two missing persons, a man and his nephew, in four days and produce them in the court.

The chief justice issued the order on a petition, filed by one Asif Munir, stating that his 16-year-old son Nehal, along with his uncle Atif Munir, went missing four days ago, but the police had failed to find out them. The court ordered DIG Abdul Rab to find out the missing persons in four days.

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