LAHORE - The Supreme Court yesterday sought reply from the Punjab government in petitions challenging No Objection Certificates (NOCs) being issued by the Punjab government for installation of publicity boards in different places in the city.

A two-judge bench headed by senior pusine judge Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Faisal Arab heard the case at SC Lahore registry. The bench observed serious concerns over installation of billboards/hoardings in different places in the city.

The bench directed the Punjab government to apprise the court as to how the billboards/hoardings of such immense sizes which endangers the public life and property were permitted to be installed at public places, property, parks, roads, footpaths and other such properties which were meant for public use and were annuity properties in nature, under what authority of law this was permissible. The SC gave 15 days time to Punjab government to sub within 15 days.

The SC passed the order in line with the orders passed by this court in a suo motu action about the billboards/hoardings and direction for the removal of the same from the city of Karachi.

Demoted cops’ pleas dismissed

The Lahore High Court yesterday dismissed as not maintainable about 250 petitions filed by police officers including SPs, DSPs and police inspector challenging their demotion orders.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah took up the petitions and asked that the petitioners should approach the service tribunal for redress of their grievance.

The demoted police officials had submitted that they did not fall in the category of out of turn promotion ordered by the SC but the inspector general of Punjab Mushtaq Sukhera (IG) issued a notification on June 23, 2016, and demoted them.

They said that the IG misinterpreted the decision of Supreme Court and demoted the petitioners.

They said the petitioners were also not given chance to defend themselves. They prayed to the curt to set aside the impugned notification.

In another case, the LHC sought reply from federal government, federal board of revenue and OGRA in a petition challenging the federal government decision of imposing 17 per cent general sales tax (GST) on petroleum products.

Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh of the LHC heard the case and deferred further hearing until August 31.

A local lawyer filed the petition and submitted that the increase in addition to already prevailing tax on petroleum products by the government was totally unconstitutional and illegal. He said present increase GST on petroleum products also violates the Supreme Court rulings. If the instant illegal act of the respondent is not set-aside by the court, then the petitioner and public at large would suffer irreparable economic and financial blow, the petitioner said.

He prayed to the court to declare the December 30, 2014 increase as illegal and unconstitutional.

Detention case: The Lahore High Court yesterday directed the Punjab home secretary and inspector general of prisons to submit replies in a petition challenging detention of leaders of Anjuman Mazaraeen in Okara.

A division bench headed by Justice Anwarul Haq heard the case and observed serious concerns over the alleged torture on Mehr Abdul Sattar, the leader of the organization who was detained in Sahiwal jail. The bench also took notice of the torture on him and sought reply by the next hearing.

The petitioners through their counsels advocates Asma Jahangir and Sardar Akbar Dogar had pleaded the court that the district administration of Okara detained Sattar and other leaders of the organization illegally. 

They argued that the court had set aside detention of the petitioners but the government issued fresh detention orders by creating new baseless grounds. They told the bench that all the detained leaders were being subjected to physical torture and inhuman treatment in jail.

They prayed the court to set aside the detention of the petitioners and order the government to release them.  The court would resume hearing by August 11.