SC sends journalists’ plea to LHC
LAHORE, July 06 2006: A Supreme Court bench on July 05 remanded to the Lahore High Court the plea of eight journalists for the grant of membership of the Lahore Press Club and subsequently allotting them plots in the colony earmarked for print and electronic media people. Comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Syed Tasaddaq Husain Jilani and Justice Karamat Nazir Bhandari, the bench granted leave to appeal to the appellants and set aside the objection raised by the high court registrar office that the writ petition was not maintainable.
While disposing of the appeal, the apex court required the writ petition, submitted by Zulqernain Tahir, Mansoor Tayyab Sheikh, Shahzada Irfan Ahmad, Sohail Akhtar, Syed Mehdi Haider, Shahper Imam Bin Hasan, Muhammad Salman Khan and Faisal Iqbal, to be fixed by the registrar office before a larger bench of the LHC for a decision on merit. The journalist moved the LHC submitting that the LPC had given membership to a number of people who did not qualify to be journalists. The petitioner stated that the LPC’s scrutiny committee had identified 75 council members who were not journalists and recommended their membership to be dispensed with.
The LPC governing body, according to the petition, did not proceed against the people of dubious credentials and not only kept their membership intact but also allotted them plots in the journalists colony. On the other hand, the club governing body refused to give them membership and the plots.
Supreme Court Bar Association president Malik Mohammad Qayyum, who appeared on behalf of the journalists, submitted before the Supreme Court that the LHC registrar office was performing even the judicial work by determining whether a petition was maintainable or not. He submitted it was the prerogative of the courts and not the office to decide the maintainability of a petition. He submitted that the return of the journalists’ petition was made under an administrative and not a judicial order. He said the LHC could not refuse to entertain a petition on administrative ground.