SC bans displaying politicians’ images on public offices

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Supreme Court (SC) has barred public office holders, including politicians, from affixing their photographs on public and government documents terming it a violation of their oath.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa authored a five-page judgment while questioning affixing the photograph of then Chief Minister Chaudhary Pervez Elahi on the certificates of properties situated in a Rawalpindi katchi abadi.
According to the order, affixing one’s own photograph on a public/government document projects personal interest, therefore, this is not permissible as it would violate one’s oath of office. It is also not permissible to manoeuvre or honour oneself through one’s subordinates, political associates, or in a manner that may call for reciprocal favours.
“Paid servants of the State, constitutional office holders and politicians in government must not use their positions for personal, partisan or pecuniary gain. If someone names a public/government place or property after themselves or affixes their own name or image on a public/government document, it is self-glorification, and if this is done by others, it would constitute obedience, flattery, nepotism and/or corruption,” added the order. A division bench of the apex court comprising Justice Isa and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah further noted that the apparent reason to portray the image of the chief minister, who is a politician, could only be to present him to the recipients of the certificates as their benefactor and thus cultivate in them a feeling of being beholden to him.
SC hears case related to political intrusion in the transfers and postings of Punjab police: A three-member bench of the Supreme Court has conducted hearing of the case regarding political intrusion in the transfers and postings of police personnel in Punjab. At the request of the petitioner, the apex court expanded the scope of the case to the federation and other provinces and subsequently, asked the federal government and other provinces to submit a response to the case.
The court said, “Federation and provinces are to submit records of transfer postings in the police department over the past eight years.” The SC ordered the federal government and provinces to submit their responses within two weeks. During the hearing, the petitioner’s lawyer maintained that transfers of police officers were due to political interference and influence, which was a matter of “public importance and fundamental rights”.
“The continuous transfer of police officers makes a difference to police command and performance,” the chief justice remarked. The petitioner’s lawyer added that recently, the district police officer (DPO) of Layyah was transferred from the chief minister’s house due to the interference of local politicians, and the event made headlines. The CJP replied that he had not seen the headlines pertaining to this matter.
The petitioner’s counsel furthered that the DPO eventually dropped charges, despite the police’s initial resistance to the transfer. “According to the data, the average term of DPO in Punjab is five months, and 268 DPOs were exchanged in Punjab in four years,” Justice Bandial read out data provided by the lawyer.
Justice Ayesha questioned where the data was obtained from, to which the lawyer replied that it was from the commissioner of police (CP) office. “Political changes in the police make a difference to the performance of the criminal justice system,” Justice Minallah remarked. The petitioner’s lawyer stated that the average term of an inspector general (IG) of police in Punjab is six months but should be three years as per law. He added that in the past four years, police officers were changed in Punjab without reason.
The CJP said that according to the petitioner’s lawyer, the matter was not limited to Punjab. “The former IG of Islamabad was a well-educated and decent officer, who handled the case of the attack on [the] Sindh House very well.
However, he was also changed,” Justice Bandial stated. The court declared that the transfer of police officers without reason affects the criminal justice system’s performance. “In these situations, there is a tendency among officers to get higher positions through political influence,” the apex court maintained.
It further stated that the petitioner’s lawyer had said that the scope of the matter should be extended to the federation and other provinces. Subsequently, the SC ordered the federal government and provinces to submit replies to the court within two weeks and adjourned the hearing for two weeks.