P L D 2006 LAHORE 84
PROVINCE OF THE PUNJAB THROUGH SECRETARY, COMMUNICATION AND WORKS DEPT
Per Syed Zahid Hussain, J-
Constitution of Pakistan (1973), Arts. 18 & 199-
Leaving aside, for the present, the other assertions and controversies, it is evident from the perusal of the impugned order itself that the order was passed without hearing the petitioner. Though the order makes mention that despite opportunity afforded to the petitioner for personal hearing, the same was not availed yet some explanation is sought to be advanced by the petitioner in this respect stated in clause (b) of the grounds of the petition. The fact of the matter, however, is that the petitioner indeed was not heard before passing of the impugned order. The import and effect of the said order is that the petitioner was blacklisted and was “forbidden to participate in future tendering in the Province of the Punjab and is not allowed to register a new contracting firm with any of the Government/Semi Government agencies. The name of the firm with all its partners and Directors is also removed from the approved list of Contractors/Firms with immediate effect.” The consequences to follow such order are obvious and drastic. The blacklisting of affirm or company as it evident from the above, result in deprivation of its business activity. It amounts to the commercial killing of a company having multiple implications including the infringement of Fundamental Right No. 18 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973. In New Jubilee Insurance Company Ltd., Karachi v. National Bank of Pakistan, Karachi PLD 1999 SC 1126 it was observed that “It may be pointed out thus the fall-out of the blacklisting of the appellant is to prevent it from the privilege and advantage of entering into lawful relationship with the respondent for the purpose of gains which is violative of Article 18 of the Constitution, which lays down that subject to such qualifications, if any, as may be prescribed by law, every citizen shall have the right to enter upon any lawful profession or occupation, and to conduct any lawful trade or business. The blacklisting of a company/firm/person, also tarnishes the reputation of it/has, as to its/his credibility to honour its/his commitments which may dissuade other parties from entering into contracts with the former. Thus the consequences of blacklisting a company/firm/person are of great magnitude, which warrant that before taking such an action, there should be material on record prima facie to indicate that he delinquent Insurance Company’s refusal to pay claim was not warranted in the circumstances of the case.” In Zulfiqar Ali v. Divisional Superintendent (Workshops), Pakistan Railways, Moghalpura, Lahore and another PLD 2001 Lahore 13 this Court had in a matter of blacklisting of contractor (which was done without show-cause notice and hearing him) declared such an action as of no legal effect. In the instant case, it appears that the respondent-Government was willing to afford personal hearing to the petitioner and intimation to that effect had even been issued but the petitioner could not avail the said opportunity for the reasons mentioned by the learned counsel. As the action of blacklisting was taken without hearing the petitioner, the same is not sustainable in law.
I am, therefore, inclined to declare the order as of no legal effect with the observation that the respondent should pass speaking order afresh with due application of mind for which purpose the petitioner may appear before the respondent no. 1 on 19-12-2005 so that a meaningful hearing is granted to him. [pp. 85, 86] A, B & C
Rana Muhammad Sarwar for Petitioner.
Ch. Aamir Rehman, Addl. A.G Punjab along with
Date of hearing : 25th November, 2005