Azad Jammu & Kashmir

In Azad Jammu & Kashmir the Institution of Mohtasib (Ombudsman) was established through Presidential Order dated 6.8.1991. Later on the Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu & Kashmir passed the Bill for establishment of the institution.

The Mohtasib can investigate into the matters of mal-administration against the agencies under the control of Azad Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

The mal-administration includes:-

(i)         a decision, process, recommendation, act of omission or commission which:-

(a)        is contrary to law, rules or regulations or a departure from established practice or procedure, unless it is bona fide and for valid reasons; or

(b)        is perverse, arbitrary or unreason­able, unjust, biased, oppressive, or discriminatory; or

(c)        is based on irrelevant grounds; or

(d)        (i) involves the exercise of powers or the failure or refusal to do so, for corrupt or improper motives, such as, bribery, jobbery, favouritism, nepotism and administrative excesses; and

(ii)        neglect, inattention, delay, incompetence, inefficiency and ineptitude, in the administration or discharge of duties and responsibilities.

Jurisdiction, functions and power of the Mohtasib
The Mohtasib may on a complaint by any aggrieved person, on a reference by the President, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council or the Assembly, as the case may be, or on a motion of the Supreme Court or a High Court made during the course of any proceedings before it or of his own motion, undertake any investigation into any allegation of mal-administration on the part of any Agency or any of its officers or employees.

Provided that the Mohtasib shall not have any jurisdiction to investigate or inquire into any matters which:-

(a)        are sub-judice before a Court of competent jurisdiction or judicial tribunal or board in Azad Jammu and Kashmir 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 Azad Kashmir 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 Mohtasib shall not accept 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 Mohtasib may arrange for studies to be made or research to be conducted and may recommend appropriate steps for their eradication.

Provided that the Mohtasib may proceed with the investigation if no response to the notice is received by him from such principal officer or other person within thirty days of the receipt of the notice or within such longer period as may have been allowed by the Mohtasib.

(5)        Every investigation shall be conducted in private, but the Mohtasib may adopt such procedure as he considers appropriate for such investigation and he may obtain information from such persons and in such manner and make such inquiries as he thinks fit.

(6)        A person shall be entitled to appear in person or be represented before the Mohtasib.

(7)        The Mohtasib shall, in accordance with the rules made under this Act, pay expenses and allowances to any person who attends or furnishes information for the purposes of an investigation.

(8)        The conduct of an investigation shall not affect any action taken by the Agency concerned, or any power or duty of that Agency to take further action with respect to any matter subject to the investigation.

(9)        For the purposes of an investigation under this Act, the Mohtasib may require any office or member of the Agency concerned to furnish any information or to produce any document which in the opinion of the Mohtasib is relevant and helpful in the conduct of the investigation and there shall be no obligation to maintain secrecy in respect of disclosure of any information or document for the purposes of such investigation:

Powers of the Mohtasib
The Mohtasib shall, for the purposes of this Act, have the same powers as are vested in a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908), in respect of the following matters, namely:-

(a)        summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;

(b)        compelling the production of documents;

(c)        receiving evidence on affidavits; and

(d)        issuing commission for the examination of witnesses.

(2)        The Mohtasib shall have the power to require any person to furnish information on such points or matters as, in the opinion of the Mohtasib, may be useful for, or relevant to, the subject-matter of any inspection or investigation.

(3)        The powers referred to in sub-section (1) may be exercised by the Mohtasib or any person authorised in writing by the Mohtasib in this behalf while carrying out an inspection or investigation under the provisions of this Act.

(4)        Where the Mohtasib finds the complaint referred to in clause (1) of section 9 to be false, frivolous or vexatious, he may award reasonable compensation to the Agency, public servant or other functionary against whom the complaint was made; and the amount of such compensation shall be recoverable from the complainant as an arrears of land revenue.

Provided that the award of compensation under this sub-section shall not debar the aggrieved person from seeking civil and criminal remedy.

(5)        If any Agency, public servant or other functionary fails to comply with a direction of the Mohtasib, he may, in addition to taking other actions under this Act, refer the matter to the appropriate authority for taking disciplinary action against the person who disregarded the direction of the Mohtasib.

(6)        If the Mohtasib has reason to believe that any public servant or other functionary has acted in a manner warranting criminal or disciplinary proceedings against him, he may refer the matter to the appropriate authority for necessary action to be taken within the time specified by the Mohtasib.

(7)        The staff and the nominees of the office may be commissioned by the Mohtasib to administer oaths for the purposes of this Act and to attest various affidavits, affirmations or declarations which shall be admitted in evidence in all proceedings under this Act without proof of the signature or seal or official character of such person.

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