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SC orders demolition of illegal chambers of lawyers

Top Story

March 3, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered demolition of illegal lawyer chambers, established on a football ground, footpaths and greenbelts in the federal capital.

Shoaib Shaheen advocate informed the court that several courts had also been built on the ground, to which the chief justice ordered that those courts should also been demolished.

The CJ repeatedly asked Hamid Khan to give a specific timeframe for vacating the ground from illegal occupation, but he, instead of giving a timeframe, pleaded for halting the demolition process till lawyers move to a new high court building.

On Feb 26, the court had temporarily stayed the verdict of Islamabad High Court (IHC) and restrained the Capital Development Authority (CDA) from demolishing illegal chambers of lawyers till March 2.

On Feb 16, a four-member IHC bench, headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah and comprising Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, in a 30-page judgment, had declared that the lawyers chambers were “illegal, void and without jurisdiction and authority.”

The court had noted the record showed that office-bearers of the Islamabad District Bar had “allotted plots to lawyers for construction of private chambers in 2017, but the bar had not obtained any permission or authorisation from authorities”.

The court had ordered the bar members to clear the illegal construction and restore the playground for public use. The court had held that the ground was situated next to a commercial area where the administration of the Islamabad Capital Territory had rented private buildings more than four decades ago for establishing the district courts. “The playground was encroached upon and construction had also been carried out by a few enrolled layers for building their private chambers,” it had observed.

The Islamabad Bar Association (IBA), through its president, had challenged the IHC verdict, contending that the high court ignored the facts, adding that nobody had approached the court against lawyers.

It had prayed the apex court to declare the IHC verdict as void. Separately, the IHC Tuesday suspended the licences of 19 lawyers for not submitting comments in the misconduct case registered after lawyers’ attack on the high court building.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah, and comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Lubna Saleem Pervaiz, heard the case. During hearing, the chief justice remarked that what he had done for lower courts in the last two years was before everyone.

He, however, said the whole fraternity should not be disgraced due to misconduct of a few people. The chief justice said he had invited the new bar's body on tea and no one justified the action of lawyers.

He said he had ignored the personal remarks and played a positive role. Former Secretary IHCBA Umair Bloch said they were apologetic about the incident, adding that it was only loss of lawyers as their chambers were broken and they were booked in protest incident.

The chief justice said he had not named anyone, rather he expected the bar to point out the responsible. He said the rule of law was necessary in the country. The court noted that only two lawyers had submitted answers, out of 21, in the misconduct case. Later, the court ordered for suspending licences of 19 lawyers over failure to submit comments.