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April 14, 2021

Lawyer chambers case: SC issues contempt notice to IHC registrar

Top Story

April 14, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) Tuesday issued a contempt of court notice to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) registrar and sought his reply within a week.

A two-member apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard the review petition, filed by the Islamabad Bar Association (IBA) against apex court judgment, ordering demolition of lawyers’ illegal chambers, established on a football ground, footpaths and greenbelts in Islamabad. The court had dismissed the IBA appeal on March 2, filed against the IHC verdict declaring the establishment of lawyer chambers as “illegal, void and without jurisdiction and authority”. On Tuesday, Additional Attorney General told the court that the IHC registrar had filed a reply regarding demolition of illegal lawyer chambers.

Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, however, observed that the IHC registrar had not taken into account the verdict of the apex court, adding that illegal lawyer chambers, which were established on football ground and in district courts, were demolished on their order.

“The IHC registrar had done nothing and had not taken serious the order of the courts, and left the matter to his junior staff,” the CJP observed.

The CJ further observed that the registrar failed to comply with the court order and why he should not be removed. “If convicted in contempt of court case, the registrar could go home,” the CJ remarked.

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 lawyer 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 the authorities concerned”.

The court had ordered the bar members to clear the illegal construction and restore the playground for the 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 privately-owned buildings more than four decades ago for establishing the district courts. “The playground was encroached upon and construction has also been made by a few enrolled layers for building their private chambers,” it had observed.

The Islamabad Bar Association, through its president, had challenged the verdict of the Islamabad High Court, contending the high court ignored the facts, adding that nobody approached the learned high court against lawyers. It had prayed to the apex court to declare the IHC verdict as void.