Lawyers in KP extend strike against Code of Civil Procedure changes until 27th

Updated 22 Oct 2020

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The strike had begun on Oct 17 with the lawyers asking the provincial government to reverse the controversial amendments. — AFP/File
The strike had begun on Oct 17 with the lawyers asking the provincial government to reverse the controversial amendments. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council on Wednesday extended the strike of lawyers across the province against changes to the Code of Civil Procedure until Oct 27.

The strike had begun on Oct 17 with the lawyers asking the provincial government to reverse the controversial amendments.

The decision to extend strike was made during a meeting attended by KPBC vice-chairman Shahid Raza Malik and other members.

The participants also decided that a meeting of the representatives of all bar associations in the province would be called on Oct 24 to finalise the future course of action on the matter.

They said the lawyers could stage protests outside the provincial assembly building, Governor’s House and Chief Minister’s House.

Threaten protests outside assembly and CM, governor houses

They asked all bar associations to hold meetings and peaceful rallies and send proposals to the KPBC for consideration.

The participants warned lawyers of strict action over the violation of strike decision.

The strike decision was taken by the KPBC on Oct 16.

The lawyers stayed away from the Peshawar High Court and district courts leading to the adjournment of most cases.

The KPBC said a designated committee of the bar council had held several meetings with the government representatives, who promised that amendments would be made to the CCP in line with the per recommendations made by the committee so as to reverse controversial changes made in the law last year.

Early this year, the bar council had observed a strike for 23 days before called off on Jan 30.

Meanwhile, the Peshawar High Court on Wednesday sought reply from the provincial government until Oct 27 to a petition against the last year’s CCP amendments.

A bench consisting of Justice Mohammad Nasir Mehfooz and Justice Syed Arshad Ali fixed Oct 27 for the next hearing into the petition filed by the KPBC.

The petitioner has requested the court to declare unconstitutional and against the principal of natural justice the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2019, through which drastic changes were made to the CCP.

The respondents in the petition are the provincial government through chief secretary, secretaries of the establishment and law departments, principal secretary to the chief minister, and provincial assembly’s secretary.

Scores of lawyers appeared before the bench contending that a new section, 26-C, had been added to the CCP and if that provision took effect, it would put extra burden on litigants and cause complications.

They said Section 26-C, which dealt with the framing of issues, filing of list of witnesses and recording of evidence, was absolutely unreasonable, illogical and against basic principle of justice.

The lawyers said Section 26-C, which prescribed the mode of recording evidence by a commission, went against the basic principles of the law.

They said without amending the Civil Court Ordinance, 1962, amendments made to the CCP was an exercise in futility.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2020