SC orders demolition of unlawful lawyer chambers

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the demolition of illegal bar associations that had been built on a soccer field, footpaths and green belts in the federal capital.

Shoaib Shaheen’s attorney told the court that several courts had also been built on the ground, after which the Chief Justice ordered that those courts should also be demolished.

The CJ repeatedly asked Hamid Khan to provide a specific timeframe for clearing the ground from illegal occupation, but advocated halting the demolition process until lawyers move to a new Supreme Court building rather than specifying a timeframe.

On February 26, the court temporarily suspended the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruling and prevented the Capital Development Authority (CDA) from demolishing illegal bar associations until March 2.

On February 16, a four-person IHC bank headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah, consisting of Judge Aamer Farooq, Judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Judge Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, declared in a 30-page judgment that the bar associations were “illegal” . void and without jurisdiction and authority. “

The court found that the records indicate that the officers of the Islamabad District Bar Association “granted lawyers land to build private chambers in 2017, but the Bar Association had not received permission or approval from the authorities.”

The court had ordered members of the bar to clear the illegal construction and restore the playground for public use.

The court ruled that the site was adjacent to an industrial park where the Islamabad Capital Territory administration rented private buildings to house the district courts more than four decades ago. “The playground was being damaged and some enrolled shifts had also done construction work to build their private chambers,” he observed.

The Islamabad Bar Association (IBA), through its president, challenged the IHC ruling, claiming that the Supreme Court ignored the facts, adding that no one had approached the court against lawyers.

It had asked the Apex court to annul the IHC ruling.

Separately, IHC Tuesday suspended the licenses of 19 lawyers for failing to comment on the misconduct case recorded after the lawyers attacked the Supreme Court building.

A three-person bank, led by Chief Justice Athar Minallah, comprised of Judge Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Judge Lubna Saleem Pervaiz, heard the case.

During the hearing, the Chief Justice noted that what he had done for the lower courts over the past two years was ahead of any other.

However, he said that the entire fraternity should not be disgraced because of the wrongdoing of a few people.

The chief judge said he took the body from the new bar for tea and no one had justified the lawyers’ actions.

He said he ignored the personal comments and played a positive role.

Former IHCBA secretary Umair Bloch said they apologized for the incident, adding that it was only the loss of lawyers as their chambers were broken and they were booked over a protest incident.

The chief judge said he hadn’t named anyone but expected the bar to point out those responsible. He said the rule of law was necessary in the country.

The court found that only two attorneys out of 21 had submitted responses in the malpractice case. The court later ordered that 19 lawyers be suspended for failure to comment.