ISLAMABAD: Police animosity towards lawyers resulted in conflict between institutions and because of this the entire judicial system got suspended, Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked on Friday.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday was hearing a suo motu case of the police brutality on lawyers at the Lahore district courts last week.
The act of police entering into bar rooms, library and lawyers’ chambers in pursuit of lawyers at Awan-e-Adl is not justifiable, Advocate General of Punjab Khawaja Harris admitted before the bench.
He submitted that the inquiry committee headed by LHC’s ex-chief justice Mian Allah Nawaz and comprising Kazim Malik and Ali Ahmad Kurd, formed by the Supreme Court, summoned the police officers on Thursday for investigation.
The committee was required to complete its deliberations and submit the report on October 8, but on Friday it sought more time to accomplish the job.
“There should be no personal vendetta and we need to move forward,” Khawaja Harris submitted while requesting the court to pass order for taking action against the culprits.
“Why should we pass order in the case?” the chief justice snapped. “The Punjab government is competent enough to take action against the persons involved in the lawyer-police clashes in Lahore.” The CJ directed that everyone should be dealt with according to the law.
Inspector General Punjab Tariq Saleem Dogar admitted that things had gotten personal between lawyers and police.
Superintendent of Police Mumtaz informed the court that seven police officials had been suspended, including an SP and three SHOs, for subjecting lawyers to violence. “What will happen with these transfers, postings and suspensions? Due to their personal ill will the entire judicial system got suspended,” the chief justice observed.
“Where is the SHO of Misri Shah who was dancing when lawyers were being beaten?” the chief justice asked the IG, to which he replied that he has been suspended.
“The chief justice was manhandled but we did nothing and still his picture is published in newspapers,” Justice Ramday observed, adding “an administrative officer should not take a decision on the basis of personal animosity”.
“Whether the chief justice took revenge after his restoration? Whatever happened to him after March 9?” the judge asked, posing yet another question: “What if Section 144 is imposed in the Supreme Court and five judges stand together. Will they be arrested?”
Mian Abdul Qadoos, a Lahore High Court Bar Association member, submitted the names of lawyers, who were beaten by the police at Aiwan-e-Adl.
He said 45 lawyers were wounded in the police operation. The court asked him to produce their medical reports and adjourned the hearing till October 15.
It may be recalled that the Lahore incident took place in the backdrop of differences between the lawyer community and judicial officers which cropped up in the first week of July when the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) passed a resolution against Zawar Hussain Sheikh, the district and sessions judge, for his alleged non-cooperative attitude towards the bar.
The resolution demanded transfer of Justice Zawar. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry seeing the reports of Justice Zawar’s transfer in the media referred the matter to Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Sharif, who formed a committee to find a durable solution.
The committee compiled its recommendations. Despite that, the district judge was not transferred. As a result the untoward incidents took place October 1 and 2. Zawar has now been sent on leave for four-months.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2010.
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