Punjab ombudsman Javed Mehmod quits over rift with government

ombudsman 24india news

Punjab Ombudsman Javed Mehmod yesterday finally resigned from his office after he had developed differences with the provincial government on many issues, it has been learnt.

The ombudsman had not been on good terms with the provincial government for quite some time, official sources said.
The CM’s office, the governor and the bureaucracy were not cooperating with him.

Mehmood had taken historic steps for free and fair justice.
He had passed strict orders against government officers.
Even some secretaries who were reluctant to implement his orders were summoned in person.

Ombudsman Mehmood established offices at district level and appointed district advisers without any support from the provincial government.
Earlier, such offices were not set up even at division level.

Mehmood made the ombudsman’s office as the poor’s court.

Besides establishing an online petition cell, Mehmood made provision of justice possible at the door steps of the poor who could not afford to hire lawyers and wait for decades.
“The bureaucrats were feeling themselves powerless as the district ombudsmen and advisers had started taking note of the government agencies’ maladministration.

This was a good period of Javed Mehmood in the office.
Interestingly, he posted his several advisers on honorary basis as many people had offered to work without salaries.
He banned use of air conditioners in his office and started sitting in the open corridors so that petitioners could easily access him.
The same practice he had done during his tenure as the Punjab chief secretary.
He had forced all the administrative secretaries to sit in corridors.

The worst time started when he was stopped from hearing problems of the poor like pensioners’ cases and other service matters.
The senior bureaucracy started setting aside his decisions on behalf of the governor who is the appellate authority against ombudsman’s orders.

The bureaucracy and the CM’s office were major hurdles to his vision to provide free justice.
A committee was constituted to look into ombudsman’s issues, creation of vacancies at district level and provision of resources.
But nothing was done in practice.
Lastly, Mehmood registered his severe reservations in the ombudsman’s annual report recently submitted to Governor Rafiq Rajwana.
He discussed all the factors which prevented him from dispensing justice.
He even wrote that his parent department, S&GAD which he headed, resisted his lawful proposals.

An adviser, who is also a senior officer, said his reservations in the report were a message to the governor that he could not continue if he was further forbidden from performing his constitutional duties.

Mehmood had joined the office after premature retirement as a federal secretary.
Now he has resigned from the constitutional post without completing his tenure.

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