No work at lower courts Judges protest lawyers ‘misbehaviour’
KARACHI: Legal proceedings remained suspended at the city courts and district courts, Malir, on Wednesday as judges of the subordinate judiciary protested against the alleged misbehaviour of a group of lawyers with a judicial magistrate.
Hundreds of cases fixed before the subordinate judiciary for Wednesday could not be taken up for hearing. Undertrial prisoners were sent back shortly after their arrival at city courts and Malir courts lock-ups on Wednesday morning as the judges refused to hear the cases.
Dozens of enraged lawyers on Tuesday afternoon stormed the courtroom of Judicial Magistrate (east) Malik Javed Iqbal shortly after he convicted a lawyer and her husband in a fraud case, allegedly misbehaved with him, breached the decorum of the court and chanted slogans.
The court had sentenced Advocate Zeba Hammad and her husband, Hammad, to two years in prison after finding them guilty of fraudulently getting possession of a property within the remit of the Sharea Faisal police station.
A fine of Rs10,000 each was also imposed on the couple and in case of non-payment they were to undergo an additional one-month imprisonment.
Policemen present at the court were unable to take the convicts into custody following the pronouncement of the judgment owing to the presence of emotionally charged lawyers.
As the magistrate made it clear that he had pronounced the verdict in accordance with the law and would not reverse it, the unruly lawyers along with the convicts entered the district and sessions court (east) and moved an appeal against the conviction and sought suspension of the sentence.
The district and sessions court referred the matter to an additional district and sessions judge (east), who admitted the appeal for hearing, suspended the sentence and ordered the release of the accused on bail on Tuesday evening.
The judges, who came to know about the incident on Wednesday morning, decided not to work. They sat in their chambers in protest against the lawyers’ actions on Tuesday.
All the four district judges of city courts met the senior puisne judge of the Sindh High Court, Justice Maqbool Baqar, later in the day.
Justice Baqar formed a committee — comprising the registrar of the high court, the member inspection committee, four district judges and two representatives of the lawyers — to look into the matter and submit its report within 10 days.
Keeping the suffering of litigants in view, Justice Baqar also directed the judges to resume work on Thursday.