The Ombudsman Punjab has the mandate to protect the rights of the people, ensuring adherence to the rule of law, diagnosing, redressing and rectifying any injustice done to a person through maladministration and suppressing corrupt practices.
Jurisdiction, Functions and Power
Section 9 of the Punjab Office of the Ombudsman Act, 1997, illustrates the jurisdiction, functions and power of the Ombudsman, as under:-
1) The Ombudsman may on a complaint by any aggrieved person, on a reference by the Government or the Provincial Assembly, or on a motion of the Supreme Court or the High Court made during the course of any proceedings before it or of his own motion, undertake any investigation into any allegation of maladministration on the part of any Agency or any of its officers or employees:
Provided that the Ombudsman shall not have any jurisdiction to investigate or inquire into any matters which:-
(a) are subjudice before a Court of competent jurisdiction on the date of the receipt of a complaint, reference or motion by him or
(b) relate to the external affairs of Pakistan or the relations or dealings of Pakistan with any foreign state or Government; or
(c) relate to, or are connected with, the defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, the Military, Naval and Air Forces of Pakistan, or the matters covered by the laws relating to those forces.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (1), the Ombudsman shall not entertain for investigation any complaint by or on behalf of a public servant or functionary concerning any matters relating to the Agency in which he is, or has been, working, in respect of any personal grievance relating to his service therein.
(3) For carrying out the objectives of this Act and, in particular for ascertaining the root causes of corrupt practices and injustice, the Ombudsman may arrange for studies to be made or research to be conducted and may recommend appropriate steps for their eradication.
The law empowers the Ombudsman Punjab to entertain complaints against any department, commission or office of the Provincial Government or a statutory corporation or other institution established or controlled by the Provincial Government but does not include the High Court and the Courts working under the supervision of High Court and Provincial Assembly and its Secretariat.
Under section 9(1) of the Act the Ombudsman on a complaint of any aggrieved person, on a reference by the Government or the Provincial Assembly or on a motion of Supreme Court or the High Court or on his own motion (suo moto) can undertake any investigation into any allegation of ‘maladministration’ on the part of any agency or its officers or employees.
The Ombudsman, however, has no jurisdiction to investigate or enquire into matters which are (a) subjudice before a court of competent jurisdiction (b) relates to the external relations of Pakistan or connected with defence of Pakistan or Military, Naval and Air Force of Pakistan or the matters covered by the laws relating to these Forces. The Ombudsman also cannot entertain for investigation any complaint by or on behalf of a public servant or functionary concerning any matter relating to the agency in which the public servant has been or is working in respect of any personal grievance or relating to his service therein.
Ombudsman has the same powers as are vested in a Civil Court under the code of civil procedure for summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person; compelling the production of documents; receiving evidence on affidavits and issuing commission for examination of witnesses. The Ombudsman is vested with the powers to enter and search any premises and inspect any article, books of account and other documents; impound and seal such article. The Ombudsman has the same powers, mutatis mutandis, as the High Court has to punish any person for its contempt.