10 Pattoki judges stop work in protest against bar ‘abuse’

Published December 5, 2020
All the judicial officers posted in Pattoki tehsil courts on Friday stopped working and applied for a 10-day leave in protest against the alleged misbehaviour and abusive conduct of the president of the local bar association with their colleagues including a female judge. — AFP/File
All the judicial officers posted in Pattoki tehsil courts on Friday stopped working and applied for a 10-day leave in protest against the alleged misbehaviour and abusive conduct of the president of the local bar association with their colleagues including a female judge. — AFP/File

LAHORE: All the judicial officers posted in Pattoki tehsil courts on Friday stopped working and applied for a 10-day leave in protest against the alleged misbehaviour and abusive conduct of the president of the local bar association with their colleagues including a female judge.

A joint application for leave written by the 10 judges to the Kasur district and sessions judge also narrated the whole incident that occurred in the courtrooms of civil judges Mahjabeen and Khalid Mahmood Warraich.

“We decided to stop working as the authorities took no action against the bar leader for his misconduct,” disclosed a civil judge while speaking to Dawn. So far, they had only been conveyed that the sessions judge would take up the matter with the Lahore High Court (LHC) registrar.

He said the judicial officers working in the Pattoki courts were very disappointed and dejected over the incidents of the lawyers’ misconduct and not inclined to serve at the sub-division.

On Dec 2, Pattoki Tehsil Bar Association President Mudassar Naeem Bhatti allegedly under the influence of liquor entered the courtroom of Civil Judge Mahajabeen and started hurling abuses at her besides threatening her of dire consequences, said the application jointly signed by additional district and sessions judges Farrukh Hussain, Mohammad Ashfaq, Tariq Maqsood, and civil judges Khalid Mahmood Warraich, Mahtab Hussain Shah, Irum Ali Malik, Mujahid Karim, Shamroze Iftikhar, Mahajabeen and Isma Rasheed.

Later, the bar president allegedly entered the court of civil judge Warraich and used abusive language. The language Mr Bhatti used was so filthy that it could not be penned down in the application. However, CCTV footage speaks about the gravity of the incident, said the application.

It stated that many senior members of the bar also watched the footage but refused to take any formal action against Mr Bhatti except verbal condemnation.

“It will also not be out of place to mention here that the said incident is not the sole factor of humiliation of judicial officers. As a matter of fact the judicial officers working at Pattoki face such situations every other day,” the judges added.

The judges sought 10-day earned leave from Dec 5 to Dec 15.

Recently, several judicial officers, including some females working in Punjab, also filed complaints with the authority against the incidents of the lawyers’ misconduct and pointed out lack of action against the offenders.

Dr Sajida Ahmed, Additional Session and District Judge, Fatehjang (Attock), in an open letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the LHC chief justice last month, had said that it would have been better for her to rear cattle in her village than joining the judiciary where she had to face disrespect and naked abuse in court everyday from the ‘so- called’ lawyers.

She went on to say that if Islam had not prohibited suicide, she would have taken her own life in front of the Supreme Court building due to the “unending abuse, harassment and disrespect” she and her colleagues had to face every day as a judge. She lamented that her seniors had done nothing to protect the district judges from this daily humiliation.

A civil judge, Syed Jahanzeb Bokhari, also went on a long leave in protest over lack of action by relevant authorities on his complaint against physical torture by Lahore Bar Association Secretary Malik Sultan and others.

LHC Registrar Mushtaq Ahmad Ojla had asked the district and sessions judges in Punjab to furnish data of such incidents happening during the past two years along with their outcome, if any.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2020

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