‘Ridiculing the court’: Wisecracking Awan sent packing

Apex court suspends former law minister’s licence; asks federation to appoint another counsel.


Faisal Shakeel January 17, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The court is in no mood for jesters.

An 11-member bench of the apex court found no humour in federation lawyer Babar Awan’s poetic jibes at the judiciary, and temporarily suspended his licence on Tuesday for “attempting to ridicule the court.”

The move comes a day after another bench of the apex court served a contempt notice to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case.

Tuesday’s bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, asked the federation to appoint another counsel in place of Awan and adjourned the hearing of the Bhutto reference indefinitely. Awan was first issued a contempt notice by a two-judge bench of the apex court for passing inappropriate remarks against the judiciary at a press conference following the December 1 order on the formation of a commission to probe into the Memogate scandal.

While talking to the media, Awan mockingly gave an impression that the issuance of notice meant little to him. The comments got Awan into even hotter water.

Court’s considerations

The bench said it would become very difficult to administer justice if attempts were made to lower the prestige of the apex court in the eyes of the general public.

In Awan’s case, the bench said, the element of mutual respect between the bar and the bench was missing.

“This institution, being the apex court, under the constitution deserves to be respected by all concerned, particularly the advocates and the members of the legal fraternity,” the bench said.

Awan was also directed to request the registrar to fix his case before the bench after engaging a counsel and filing a reply to the contempt of court notice. The court directed the registrar to collect the record of Awan’s enrolment as an advocate of the Supreme Court from the Pakistan Bar Council and as an advocate of High Court from the Punjab Bar Council.

The bench also called for a record of the case where Awan was issued a contempt notice by the Lahore High Court.

Mixed reactions

Awan’s suspension, however, evoked a mixed reaction from the legal fraternity.

Former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Ali Ahmed Kurd opposed what he called was ‘restricting lawyers from speaking out.’

“If we had taken the contempt law under consideration, we could not have undertaken a struggle against the [former chief justice] Dogar court,” Kurd told reporters outside the Supreme Court.

Another former SCBA president, Asma Jahangir, however, was more cautious. Speaking to reporters, she said that all stakeholders should step back and allow others their space to function.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2012.

COMMENTS (39)

dv sikka | 10 years ago | Reply

Some hope that the strong stand taken by SC will eventually help in the truth coming out.

Aamir | 10 years ago | Reply @Uza Syed / Junaid / Jai Zardari...........ignorance is quite evident from your comments, so please get a life
VIEW MORE COMMENTS
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read