The Lahore High Court (LHC) Monday issued notices to the Punjab government and other respondents, seeking their replies by June 24 on a plea challenging the placement of the assembly under the law department through an ordinance promulgated by the governor. Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi filed the plea. Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman’s move to promulgate the Punjab Laws (Repealing and Removal of Difficulties) Ordinance 2022 on June 15, in a bid to convene a Punjab Assembly session for presentation of budget amid friction with Speaker Elahi, is at the centre of the latest chapter of the crisis that has gripped Punjab for over a month, says a news report. On June 13, when the government initially planned to present the provincial budget during the assembly’s 40th session, Elahi refused to conduct the session and allow the budget to be presented, demanding the inspector general of police (IGP) first tender an apology to him and withdraw all cases lodged against the PTI and PML-Q workers and parliamentarians in connection with the chaotic April 16 session that saw the election of Hamza as the province’s chief executive. Next day, Governor Balighur Rehman cancelled the ongoing 40th session and summoned the 41st session at Aiwan-i-Iqbal, some 700 metres away from the Punjab Assembly. However, despite the governor’s orders, the speaker declared that the 40th session would continue. Eventually, the governor promulgated The Punjab Laws (Repealing and Removal of Difficulties) Ordinance 2022, curtailing the speaker’s powers and empowering the Punjab law and parliamentary affairs department to issue notifications regarding summoning or prorogation of the provincial assembly. On June 15, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari chaired a session at the Aiwan-i-Iqbal Complex, where the provincial budget was presented. The session was attended only by lawmakers from the ruling coalition. Meanwhile, Elahi simultaneously chaired a session at the provincial assembly building, where lawmakers from the opposition had rejected the Punjab Laws (Repealing and Removal of Difficulties) Ordinance, 2022. In his petition, Elahi prayed the court to strike down the ordinance, along with all subsequent actions, proceedings and decisions taken under it. He contended that the ordinance lacked any “lawful authority”, was “person-specific” and had been promulgated to “give undue advantage to the respondents”. He also maintained that the ordinance violated the Rules of Business, Government of Punjab, 2011 and Rules and Procedures of Punjab Assembly, 1996, in addition to being ultra vires to the Constitution. He further requested the court that during the pendency of his petition, “the operation of the impugned ordinance, along with impugned notifications, may kindly be suspended.” Referring to the Punjab Assembly session on June 13, Elahi claimed that he had “repeatedly requested” the provincial finance minister to present the budget, “but due to ulterior motives and mala fide”, he did not do so. Instead, Elahi said, the minister announced on the floor of the house that the Punjab governor had prorogued the ongoing session and left, along with others from treasury benches. “Later on, through electronic media, it was further confirmed to the petitioner that the Punjab governor [had] illegally, unlawfully, unconstitutionally, in an arbitrary manner and based upon mala fide and ulterior motives, prorogued the 40th session of the Punjab Assembly on the advice of the non-elected chief minister, as per the opinion of the provincial cabinet in its meeting on June 14,” the plea read. Elahi said the decision was “illegally” notified by the Punjab law secretary.