KASUR: Accountability of both the judges and lawyers at their respective platforms can pave the way for smooth and peaceful working of the courts as well as resolution of disputes in the courts, say bar and bench.
Tussle between lawyers and judges, especially in lower courts, is not new. It resurfaced here two weeks back when 10 judges of the Pattoki tehsil courts registered their collective protest by going on leave against the alleged misbehaviour of lawyers with a woman judge. Some days back, a PTI-backed senior lawyer locked the room of a female civil judge over a petty issue. Later, the matter was resolved after the intervention of a senior lawyer.
Clashes/tension between lawyers and judges increased after the lawyers movement for the ‘restoration of judiciary’ in 2007. Both the groups are answerable to their respective disciplinary committees but they are seldom penalised. Now the Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) has started a scrutiny and both the groups have high expectations from the ongoing process of checking the authenticity of lawyers’ degrees.
Lawyers, however, claim the PbBC was doing a lot to take action against the lawyers to make them follow the code of ethics but there was hardly any such example on the judiciary side.
Dawn talked to both judges and lawyers to find out the causes of such rows and their possible solution.
Ex-D&SJ says lawyers with fake degrees become judges as well
A former district and sessions judge says it is strange to see the local trade unions, property tycoons, contractors and land grabbers supporting certain candidates in the bar elections, displaying banners in their support and arranging feasts. He says there is no mechanism to check degrees of lawyers and some of the same fake lawyers are later selected as judges.
The former judge claims that the lawyers’ degrees are not checked even when they are selected as judges and calls for a checks and balances system. He bemoans that courts have also failed to provide protection to those who enter their premises.
A serving judge, requesting anonymity, says the power to cancel the licenses of delinquent lawyers should be given to the judiciary for checks and balances. The judge also says that the lawyers’ powers are unbridled which should be curtailed through legislation and amendments to rules.
“Removal of lawyers with fake degrees and record of misconduct could bring about a healthy change to the profession of law. Code of conduct is there in written form but it is hardly followed,” the judge rues.
Former PbBC member and Kasur DBA president Qurban Ali Dogar stresses making both the lawyers and judges accountable as they evade action due to political influence. He supports cancellation of lincences of lawyers who have fake degrees.
Muhammad Sharif Zahid, a former Kasur DBA president, thinks that the judges are considered sacred cows and only lawyers are punished after every tussle between both the two groups. He says the judges whose verdicts are changed at higher forums should be made the officers on special duty (OSDs).
Newly-elected PBC member Rana Zameer Ahmed Jhedu says there are several precedents of punishments to lawyers but there is hardly any such example for judges. He claims that most of the time judges’ attitude and their remarks against the lawyers in the court spark a row. He calls it injustice if only the lawyers are blamed for the disputes in courts.
Another newly elected PBC member Farhan Shahzad suggests introduction of a forum to hear the grievances of both sides. He has suggested that the decision of any dispute should also be uploaded on the portal to discourage the wrong elements.
However, in absence of any proper body to resolve the disputes between lawyers and judges, it’s hard to see an end to their rows in the near future.
Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2020
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