An Additional District & Sessions Judge (AD&SJ) pointed out, on Tuesday, that two petitions for bail were filed for one accused in her court, The Express Tribune has learnt. One of the advocates was let off with a sharp reprimand by the judge.
Lawyers are supposed to file an affidavit with a bail petition that no other petition has been filed or would not be filed on this matter in the future. Lawyers have been known to file two or three petitions for their clients in different courts in the hope of getting lucky on one of the forums.
AD&SJ Bushra Zaman discovered that two lawyers had filed bail petitions for the same client, in a drug related case, in her court. Advocates Amjad Iqbal Khan and Chaudhry Tahir Yousaf filed their petitions in Judge Zaman’s court on March 24 for Rafi Masih. Masih had been sent to jail for allegedly possessing 140 grams of hashish. Khan had filed his petitions in the morning in Urdu while Yousaf had filed his petition in English in the afternoon.
A court insider speaking on condition of anonymity told The Express Tribune that the judge had adjourned these petitions on three occasions without realising that they were for the same man. A few days ago the judge while reading the cause list happened to notice two petitions with the same title.
The angry judge, on April 2, berated both lawyers and said, “This is an act to deceive the court.” Advocate Yousaf asked for a few minutes to withdraw his petition.
Instead, the advocate left the court. On April 5, the next date of hearing, when both lawyers appeared in court, the judge ordered them to wait.
After a while, the judge asked Advocate Yousaf where he had gone off to at the last date of hearing. The advocate did not respond to the judge’s query and instead apologised saying he was not aware of the other bail petition. He said Masih’s mother had told him to submit the petition.
The judge said that he should have had the mother sign the bail petition to prove he had been given permission by her to file it. Advocate Yousaf withdrew his bail petition and Advocate Khan submitted it in the same court. Advocate Khan told The Express Tribune that Masih could have been released on April 2 had it not been for the other petition. Shahzad Hassan Shaikh, president of the Lahore Bar Association (LBA), said that this was not misconduct, rather it was a misunderstanding. He said such incidents would only stop once the system was computerised.
The Supreme Court in PLD 1986 in the Zubair case held that it is the responsibility of the lawyer to confirm that no similar case had been filed before any court and it is the first petition. The judgment also held that after confirming it, the lawyer is responsible for giving a note on oath that it is the first case of its kind.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2011.