GUJRAT/MULTAN: The Sargodha district and sessions judge and Deputy Commissioner (DC) Abdullah Nayyar Sheikh on Tuesday visited Sahiwal tehsil to inquire into the fiasco between an assistant commissioner (AC) and a civil judge.

A protest demonstration and sit-in by the clerical staff of the district administration continued for the second consecutive day on Tuesday in various parts of Punjab, while deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners, tehsildars and patwaris resumed their duties. The judge and the DC visited Sahiwal tehsil of Sargodha district on the directions of the Lahore High Court chief justice and the Punjab chief secretary, respectively.

Probe initiated; AC wants to file complaint against judge

Official sources said that both AC Raja Muhammad Haider and Civil Judge Muhammad Naeem appeared before the inquiry team at a neutral place and presented their arguments. Both team members would submit their separate reports to the chief secretary and the LHC chief justice.

A well-placed source said that the AC and the civil judge could both be transferred from Sahiwal to defuse the tension between the administrative and judicial officers across the province.

In Multan, The All Pakistan Provincial Civil Servants Association announced a pen-down strike from Wednesday (today) until Saturday over the alleged handcuffing, abuse and disgracing of the AC. They had also observed a token strike for half the day on Monday.

Meanwhile, AC Haider submitted an application to the Sargodha DC seeking permission to file a complaint against Civil Judge Naeem over his (AC) illegal detention, handcuffing for over an hour as well as passing of “illegal orders” for demarcation of the food and vegetable market land despite the area being under consolidation.

In his application, the AC stated that his office had received a notice on Dec 12 for the production of record on the implementation of a court decree, but he was on a field visit and his reader appeared before Civil Judge-II Naeem the same day.

He alleged that the judge used abusive language and directed for issuance of his arrest warrants over non-appearance, while the AC’s reader was detained. The AC, however, met Additional District and Sessions Judge (AD&SJ) Raja Shabraiz Akhtar to seek his help in resolving the matter.

After the meeting, the civil judge’s bailiff told him that his arrest warrants had been issued, manhandled and threatened him over which he again went to the AD&SJ who took the warrants from the bailiff and asked the AC to wait. Later, Civil Judge Naeem also came to the AD&SJ’s chamber where the AC was told a case of the vegetable market would be discussed. The AC claimed he was shocked to hear this as the hearing of the vegetable market case was fixed for Dec 18.

He alleged that Mr Naeem insulted him and threatened him with sending him to jail. He was directed to demarcate the vegetable market and shift it to state land the same day despite telling the judge repeatedly that the land was under consolidation process and according to law, demarcation was the purview of a consolidation officer and not the AC.

However, the judge’s bailiff appeared with handcuffs and started to manhandle him and pushed him towards the court of Mr Naeem. In the court, the judge started the proceedings while keeping him handcuffed. He said he was not heard and the staff accompanying him also manhandled.

Due to this harassment, the AC said, he was forced to give a written assurance for the implementation of the court and tender an apology for the delay in it.

He requested that he be allowed to file a complaint against the civil judge besides another complaint with the Lahore High Court registrar and the court’s Monitoring and Inspection Team for initiating an inquiry and disciplinary proceedings against all judges.

LAHORE: The Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) on Tuesday condemned the alleged misbehaviour of AC Haider with Mr Naeem and demanded his immediate transfer.

In a statement, PbBC Vice Chairman Akram Khaksar said Civil Judge Naeem had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the AC for not appearing before the court despite repeated summons.

He said there was a sense of resentment among the district judiciary against the misconduct of the AC. He demanded the government transfer the officer immediately and initiate departmental action against him.

(Wajih Sheikh contributed to this report from Lahore)

Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2020

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