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Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan: Functioning of DG, ordinance challenged in PHC

A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth directed that the two respondents including the federation of Pakistan through the secretary of the cabinet division and the director general of IPOP, Sajjad Ahmad Bhutta, to file their comments within 20 days.

The writ petition is filed by a resident of Swabi, Allauddin Khan, stating that as this issue was of public interest, this petition may be considered pro bono.

Advocate Mukhtar Ahmad Maneri appeared for the petitioner and argued that the Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan Ordinance 2007 had lapsed on Nov 30, 2009 and was re-promulgated in Nov 2009 which again expired in March 2010. He argued that in violation of Article 89 of the Constitution another ordinance was promulgated on April 24, 2012, which was liable to be declared as unconstitutional.

Mr Mukhtar contended that after the passage of eighteenth amendment an ordinance under Article 89 could be promulgated by the president and it expired after 120 days. He added that the president could not re-promulgate an ordinance except through resolution of a house of Parliament.

The counsel argued that the functioning of Sajjad Ahmad Bhutta as director general of the organisation was illegal and in violation of section 12 (2) of the IPOP Ordinance. He stated that under the said section a person should not be appointed as director general unless he was a federal government officer not below the rank of BPS-21, whereas he was a BPS-20 officer.

He added that the director general was appointed in July 2011, when the organisation was virtually non-existent as the relevant ordinance had lapsed, and he had also no previous experience in the field of intellectual property rights.

He requested the bench to declare that the re-promulgation of the IPOP Ordinance 2012 was ultra vires of the Constitution. He further prayed the court to issue a writ against the director general being ineligible for the said post.

The petitioner has claimed that the registration, filing of applications and grant of trademarks, patents, design and copyrights were done in the registry offices at Karachi, but the director general office was not more than a post office in dealing with World Intellectual Property Organisation making foreign trips, getting trainings and attending seminars, which were meant for officials actually involved in the intellectual property in the registries at Karachi.

The petitioner also alleged that the director general had stuffed the organisation with officials on deputation who mostly hailed from provincial departments, Federal Board of Revenue, etc. He added that a grade 18 officer of income tax group had been brought in and made as director law in BPS-19. He added that hiring of staff without any advertisement in the absence of any rule, regulation and law was not only irregular but also not transparent.

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