PBC suspends licenses of lawyers for misbehaving with Mandi Bahauddin judge

Provincial lawyers’ body condemns lawyers’ behaviour, says it will damage relations between bar and bench

Picture source - pbbarcouncil.com

Punjab Bar Council (PBC) on Wednesday strongly condemned lawyers’ misbehavior with the judge of the Consumer Court in District Mandi Bahauddin, and suspended the licenses of five lawyers involved in the incident.

The PBC’s Executive Council took notice of the incident after a video clip showing a group of lawyers misbehaving with Mandi Bahauddin District and Sessions Judge Rao Abdul Jabbar went viral on social media.

Judge Rao Abdul Jabbar had sentenced the deputy commissioner and an assistant commissioner to three months in jail over contempt of court.

In a statement, the PBC suspended the practice license of Mandi Bahauddin Bar Association President Zahid Yar Gondal, Secretary Yasir Arafat, Advocate Mutiur Rehman Ranjha, Advocate Aurangzeb Gondal and Advocate Zeeshan Gondal.

The lawyers’ provincial body also seized the offices of president and secretary of the district bar.

In its statement, the PBC said, “This act of misbehaving with Consumer Court Judge Rao Abdul Jabbar will damage the relation between bar and bench.”

The council also directed the said lawyers to appear before its Executive Council on December 6 and explain their position.

On Monday, the Lahore High Court suspended a three-month jail sentence given to a deputy commissioner and an assistant commissioner of Mandi Bahauddin district and sought record of the matter till the next date of hearing.

Chief Justice Ameer Bhatti passed the order on appeals moved by Deputy Commissioner Tariq Basra and Assistant Commissioner Imtiaz Baig.

Both the officers had filed their appeals through the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) President Maqsood Buttar. The counsel appeared before the court and argued that the sentence awarded to the officers by the Consumer Court was against the law.

The counsel said that the appellants had the right to appeal before the relevant forums if a court did not have jurisdiction to decide a matter.

The counsel asked the court to set aside the conviction of both the officers.

After hearing initial arguments from the appellants, the LHC chief justice suspended the decision of the Consumer Court and sought record of the matter till the next date of hearing.

Last week, Mandi Bahauddin Consumer Court Judge Rao Abdul Jabbar, who is also district and sessions judge, had convicted the deputy commissioner and the assistant commissioner for contempt of court in connection with the hearing of a plea by a citizen.

The said case pertained to one Muhammad Asim being forcibly evicted from an official residence in Wapda Colony by Rana Mehboob Ali, a litigation clerk in the local administration.

The court issued notices to the DC and AC to appear before the court, however, they sent the litigation clerk, who engaged in misconduct and contempt by misbehaving with the judge.

The clerk challenged the authority of the court as well and the judge convicted him. Following this, DC Tariq Basra personally made a phone call to the judge and misbehaved with him, asking him to set the clerk free whereas AC Imtiaz Ali also appeared in the court and misbehaved with the judge.

The judge issued notices to both the DC and AC under Section 228 of the Pakistan Penal Code to appear and personally answer as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them.

Both the officers appeared in the court on Friday but they could not argue their case to the court’s satisfaction.

The judge had awarded three-month imprisonment to both the officers and sent them to the Gujrat District Jail.

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