An Ordinance  to make institutional reforms for standardizing and harmonizing the laws relating to Federal Ombudsmen institution of and the matters ancillary or akin thereto;

[Gazette of Pakistan, Extraordinary, Part-I, 12th February, 2013]

No. F. 2(1)/2013-Pub.—The following Ordinance promulgated by the President is hereby published for general information:-

WHEREAS it is expedient to make institutional reforms for standardizing and harmonizing the laws relating to institution of Federal Ombudsmen and the matters ancillary or akin thereto;

AND WHEREAS, it is expedient to enhance effectiveness of the Federal Ombudsmen to provide speedy and expeditious relief to citizens by redressing their grievances to promote good governance;

AND WHEREAS, it is necessary that in order to enable the Federal Ombudsmen to perform their functions efficiently, they should enjoy administrative and financial autonomy;

AND WHEREAS the National Assembly and the Senate are not in session and the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action;

Now, THEREFORE, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 89 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the President is pleased to make and promulgate the following Ordinance:–

1.       Short title, extent and commencement.—(1) This Ordinance may be called the Federal Ombudsmen Institutional Reforms Ordinance, 2013.

(2)     It extends to the whole of Pakistan.

(3)     It shall come into force at once.

2.       Definitions.—In this Ordinance, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,—

(a)     "Agency" means, the Agency defined in the relevant legislation and in relation to the Establishment of the Office of Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) Order, 1983 (P.O. No. l of 1983) shall include an Agency in which the Federal Government has any share or which has been licensed or registered by the Federal Government and notified by the Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) in the Official Gazette.

(b)     "Ombudsman" mean an Ombudsman appointed under the relevant Legislation and includes the Ombudsman appointed under Section 21.

(c)     "relevant legislation" means, the Office of Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) Order, 1983 (P.O. No. l of 1983), the Establishment of the Office of Federal Tax Ombudsman Ordinance, 2000 (XXXV of 2000), the Insurance Ordinance, 2000 (Ordinance No. XXXIX of 2000), the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962 (LVII of 1962), and the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010 (IV of 2010).

3.       Tenure of the Ombudsman.—The Ombudsman shall hold office for a period of four years:

Provided that the Ombudsman shall continue to hold office after expiry of his tenure till his successor enters upon the office.".

4.       Acting Ombudsman.—At any time when the office of Ombudsman is vacant or he is unable to perform his functions due to any cause the President shall appoint an Acting Ombudsman who shall perform functions and exercise powers as are vested in the Ombudsman and shall be entitled to all privileges as are admissible to Ombudsman:

Provided that till such time the Acting Ombudsman is appointed, the Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) shall act as Ombudsman of the concerned office and in case the Wafaqi Mohtasib is absent or unable to perform functions of his office, the Federal Tax Ombudsman shall act as Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman), in addition to his own duties.

5.       Removal of Ombudsman.—An Ombudsman may be removed from office through Supreme Judicial Council on the grounds of being incapable of properly performing duties of his office by reason of physical or mental incapacity or found to have been guilty of misconduct.

6.       Resignation.—The Ombudsman may resign his office by writing under his hand addressed to the President.

7.       Grievance Commissioner.—(1) The Ombudsman shall appoint or designate an officer not below BPS-21 as a Grievance Commissioner in an Agency against which a large number of complaints are received persistently.

(2)  The Grievance Commissioner shall exercise the powers and perform the functions as may be specified by the Ombudsman.

8.       Oath of office.—An Ombudsman shall take Oath before he enters upon his office in the form as prescribed in the relevant legislation and in case such form is not prescribed in the relevant legislation he shall make oath before the President before he enters upon the office in the form set out in the Schedule to this Act.

9.       Expeditious disposal of complaints.—(1) The Agency shall, if so required by the Ombudsman, submit written comments in a complaint within fifteen days, and this period may be extended for a further period of seven days on a sufficient cause.

(2)     The representative of the Agency shall, if so required by the Ombudsman, attend the hearing of a complaint, or may request in writing for adjournment with specific reasons, such adjournment if justified shall not be allowed more than seven days.

(3)     Disciplinary action shall be taken by the competent authority if there is failure in terms of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2).

(4)     The Competent authority shall within fifteen days inform the Ombudsman about the action taken on his orders under sub-section (3).

(5)     The Ombudsman shall dispose of the complaint within a period of sixty days.

10.     Powers of Ombudsman.—In addition to powers exercised by Ombudsman under the relevant legislation, he shall also have following powers of a civil Court, namely:-

(i)      granting temporary injunctions; and

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