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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared that lawyers’ chambers on sports ground in the F-8 sector of the federal capital were ‘illegally constructed’ and directed the relevant authorities to remove them.

A four-member larger bench of the IHC headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah and comprising Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, on Tuesday, announced the unanimous verdict.

The judgment authored by Justice Minallah began with the profound role of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah as leader and a dynamic lawyer.

The CJ wrote that Quaid-e-Azam had turned the dream of Pakistan into a reality.

The judgment said there is far greater obligation on a professional lawyer in Pakistan to demonstrably show commitment to upholding the dignity of the profession. This obligation can only be discharged by demonstrably displaying high standards of conduct associated with the legal profession.

The IHC bench noted that in the case in hand the purported allotments made by the Islamabad District Bar in the playground or elsewhere were without lawful authority and jurisdiction, besides exposing the office bearers who were involved in such illegal acts to disciplinary proceedings for misconduct.

Likewise, the enrolled advocates who had accepted the purported illegal allotments had also no lawful justification to construct chambers on State land.

It noted, “(a) The purported allotments made by the Islamabad District Bar in the playground are illegal, void and without jurisdiction and authority. (b) The encroachments on any State land and any construction thereon in violation of the Ordinance of 1960 and the rules or regulations made there under are illegal, void and liable to be removed forthwith. (c) An Advocate who takes the law into his or her own hands or violates the law in any manner whatsoever is not eligible to be certified by the High Court as ‘fit and proper’ to plead and appear before the august Supreme Court. Likewise, an enrolled Advocate who volunteers to take law in his/her own hands cannot be certified as having ‘character and conduct’ for the purposes of being enrolled as an Advocate of the High Court.”

“Since a small fraction of the total number of members of the Islamabad District Bar are beneficiaries of the illegal construction of chambers, therefore, we are confident that as a gesture towards the actual stakeholders i.e. the general public, the members of the Bar will clear the illegal construction and restore the Playground for public use,” said the judgment.

“In case the Playground is not restored by or before the 28th February 2021, the Federal Government and the Capital Development Authority will restore the Playground for the use of the public before the 23rd March, 2021. The Federal Government shall make arrangements for holding a football tournament amongst students of public schools on the Pakistan Day i.e. 23rd March 2021, to give tribute to the greatest lawyer of the sub continent and founder of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah,” maintained Justice Minallah.

The IHC bench said in the verdict that the Islamabad District Bar may submit its proposed plan to the Capital Development Authority for consideration and approval in relation to the Lawyers Plot i.e. 5 acre plot separately allotted by the federal government for the use of the lawyers.

It directed the Federal Government to commence and complete the construction of the state-of-the-art complex of district courts without unnecessary delay.

The bench said, “The Registrar of this Court will be kept informed regarding the progress on the 1st of each month. We expect that the Federal Government will ensure that the state of the art judicial complex is made functional before the next Pakistan Day i.e. 23rd of March, 2022.”

The IHC CJ also said that the Federal Government shall enquire into the inaction of the public functionaries and proceed against those officials who were responsible for depriving the general public from exercising the constitutionally guaranteed rights.

He remarked that a lawyer has a responsibility in society to become a role model for others with respect to character and conduct.

It is inconceivable for a lawyer in Pakistan to even think of disregarding the law or commit the slightest breach of the high standards of conduct set by the profession, let alone undermining the rule of law.

The bench observed that the status of an enrolled advocate in a society is extraordinary and unique.

They are foot soldiers of no one except the Constitution and the law.

They have the distinction of being members of the most noble among the professions.

They are guardians of the Constitution and law.

Their professional obligation requires each member of the legal fraternity to serve the society.

The profession is not a business but service to the society and the nation.

It is the duty of every enrolled Advocate to act in the best interest of the society, having regard to strict compliance with the enforced laws, the judgment concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021