LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) has come up with a mixed reaction to a decision whereby conviction of two administrative officers -- Mandi Bahauddin deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner -- was suspended by the Lahore High Court without making them surrender to the law.

The LHCBA finance secretary Faisal Tauqir Sial on Tuesday issued a statement to the media criticising the suspension of the three-month jail term of the bureaucrats by Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti. He said a convict could not challenge his/her conviction without surrendering to the law, which meant that the convict was required to first go to jail before filing an appeal against the conviction. He said the DC and AC had misbehaved with the presiding judge of the district consumer court and suspending their conviction without surrender amounted to the court’s disgrace and encouraged the “unbridled bureaucracy”.

Later, LHCBA secretary Mohsin Abbas also issued a statement, disowning the opinion of the finance secretary. Mr Abbas said the bar had nothing to do with Sial’s statement and it should be treated as an “individual’s remark”.

Advocate Burhan Moazzam Malik said the court relied on a 2012 judgment of the Supreme Court while suspending the officer’s conviction without their surrender to the law. He said the apex court in its 2015 judgement had declared the previous (2012) judgment “inapt” saying surrender before a higher court could not be considered as surrender before law without being imprisoned. However, he said, if the high court deemed the 2012 judgement a valid law, then this law should be implemented on all appeals against convictions landing in the court without any discrimination.

Advocate Safdar Shaheen Pirzada supported the LHC decision. He, however, said the district police officer (DPO) committed professional misconduct by not implementing the consumer court’s order.

The LHC CJ on Monday suspended the conviction of Mandi Bahauddin DC Tariq Basra and AC Imtiaz Ali Baig by the consumer court in a contempt case.

District and Sessions Judge Rao Abdul Jabbar Khan had on Nov 26 handed down three-month imprisonment each to both officers and ordered the DPO to shift them to jail.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2021



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