ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has returned a petition seeking a restraining order against Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi from allocating public development funds to districts belonging to his family members, insisting that the petitioner could not identify which questions of public importance were involved in seeking the restraining order.
In the petition filed last week, Advocate Mian Dawood also requested the top court to prevent different government agencies from releasing payments to contractors or placing the public revenue at the indirect disposal of Punjab Assembly members from the constituencies belonging to the family members of the chief minister.
He highlighted that the Punjab chief minister granted his home district the status of division and then allocated over Rs100 billion for the development scheme, apparently for the two districts, i.e. Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin.
However, a note issued by the Supreme Court’s Registrar Office on Tuesday returned the petition along with paper books for not being entertainable.
“That the petitioner has not pointed out as to what questions of public importance in the instant case are involved with reference to enforcement of any of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution, so as to directly invoke jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution,” it said.
One reason in the note while returning the petition is that the petitioner had made misconceiving, multifarious prayers in one petition.
Likewise, the ingredients for invoking extraordinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution had not been satisfied, the note said.
Besides, the notice issued to the respondents was not properly drawn as it didn’t mention what purpose this constitution petition was being filed before the apex court, and a copy of the petition was also not provided to the respondent, it said.
Moreover, the petitioner has not approached any other appropriate forum available under the law for the same relief and has also not provided any justification for not doing so. It said the petition contained several overwriting, additions and cuttings which were not permissible.
In the petition, Mr Dawood asked the apex court to order preventing different government agencies from releasing payments to contractors or placing the public revenue at the indirect disposal of Punjab Assembly members from the constituencies belonging to the family members of the chief minister.
The petitioner argued that it was “an admitted fact” that the Punjab chief minister granted his home district the status of division and then allocated over Rs100bn for development schemes, apparently for Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin districts.
He alleged that the chief minister had released funds to the constituencies of Chaudhry Hussain (NA-68, Gujrat-I), Moonis Elahi (NA-69, Gujrat-II), Sajid Ahmed Bhatti (PP-67, Mandi Bahauddin-III) and his own PP-430 constituency (Gujrat-III).
Mr Dawood had also requested the court to declare as unconstitutional the allocation of disproportionate funds to the constituencies of the chief minister and his family members, besides ruling that the allocation or reappropriation through supplementary or excess grants of funds in the constituencies and the projects have been initiated in violation of the principle of transparency, good governance and procurement laws.
He had also sought a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigation into the alleged violation of constitutional provisions and procurement laws.
The petitioner also requested the apex court to direct NAB or any other agency to launch an investigation against those responsible for violation of constitutional provisions and principles of transparency and procurement laws and causing loss or damage to the public exchequer.
“It turns out that 70 per cent of the funds are for the constituencies belonging to the family of the incumbent chief minister,” the petition contended, adding that the allocation of funds by masquerading them as supplement grants was in addition to the non-developmental expenditures to be incurred on building paraphernalia for all divisional offices in Gujrat.
The petition said it had been reported that Punjab’s total development budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year stood at around Rs700bn, of which a sizeable portion went to Gujrat division comprising four small districts of Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin, Wazirabad and Hafizabad and the lion’s share was kept within the two families.
The major beneficiaries from Gujrat are the constituencies of Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, his son Moonis, and Hussain, the son of Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain.
The petitioner cited the Punjab chief secretary, secretaries of finance and planning and development departments, the Planning and Development Board chairman, Accountant General Office and NAB as respondents.