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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Jinnah, the role model for young lawyers 

Abdul Rasool Syed |

The world knows Jinnah as the founding father of one of the biggest Muslim countries of the world called Pakistan. His indefatigable efforts to carve out a separate homeland for the Muslims deserve heartfelt kudos. The Pakistani nation would ever remain beholden to him for his selfless devotion and meritorious services that he rendered for the establishment of Pakistan. Moreover, the emergence of independent and sovereign Pakistan on the map of the world would also remain an imperishable testimony to his unparalleled leadership and historic statesmanship.

Apart from his political acumen, Mr. Jinnah was also one of the great legal luminaries that the world has ever produced. The young crop of lawyers can learn a great deal from his enviable legal career and rich experience. But unfortunately, our law schools don’t project Jinnah as a role model for the novices in law. The legal academicians, as well as practitioners, hardly quote Jinnah in their lectures and legal arguments. As a result, the young legal practitioners remain deprived of the colossal treasure of legal knowledge that Jinnah embodies.

Thousands thronged to the court to hear him. The court room was jam-packed and the corridors were full when chief justice Davis and Justice Weston entered.

It is, therefore, need of the hour to highlight Jinnah’s legal marvels so that the new entrants in the field of law might model Jinnah as a beacon of light in their career in law. This piece of writing is a tiny step forward in this direction. Jinnah decided to embrace the profession of law when he, during his stay in London, saw for the first time a barrister robed in the gown, wig collars and the bands; he desired to be a barrister. Jinnah, after passing the preliminary examination of the law, joined Lincoln’s Inn to fulfil his desire of becoming a barrister.

While addressing the Karachi Bar Association on the occasion of the birth of Prophet Mohammad S.A.W on January 25, 1948, Jinnah disclosed the reason for joining Lincoln’s Inn, because there in the main hall, in the huge fresco, the name of holy prophet S.A.W was included among the great lawgivers of the world. M.A Jinnah, by virtue of his unmatched advocacy skills succeeded in mastering the niche for him among the seasoned and well-established advocates of India within short span of time and won laurels from both friends and the foes alike.

Read more: The two ends of Shahrah-e-Quaid

In a broadcast from B.B.C Sir Stafford Cripps spoke of him as “a most accomplished lawyer outstanding amongst Indian lawyers and a fine constitutionalist.” Mahatma Gandhi, an arch adversary of Jinnah also recognized Jinnah as a great lawyer of India. In a letter to Lord Birkenhead, he described Mr., Jinnah and Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru as the two cleverest lawyers of India. During initial days of his career, he joined the chambers of John Macpherson and George Lowndes; both erudite and accomplished lawyers of their age.

They left a lasting impact on Jinnah’s personality. But in 1900, came the first opportunity, when Mr., P.H Dastoor, the presidency magistrate of Bombay, left his post on leave. As Jinnah was passing through his lean time and facing the teething troubles of his career, he decided to apply for the temporary vacancy. Through the efforts of Macpherson, the then Advocate General, Mr. Jinnah was appointed as presidency magistrate in May 1900. From the cases dealt with and decided by Mr., Jinnah, it is evident that he was an able, judicious and balanced magistrate.

As a result, the young legal practitioners remain deprived of the colossal treasure of legal knowledge that Jinnah embodies.

Mr. Jinnah officiated as presidency magistrate for a period of six months. On the expiry of this period, Sir Charles offered him a permanent appointment on a salary of Rs. 1500 per month, Mr., Jinnah politely declined the offer, wryly adding that his ambition was to earn Rs. 1500 a day.  Eventually, Mr. Jinnah succeeded in earning Rs. 1500 per day which was an exorbitant amount in those days. Jinnah was the most versatile advocate, practising in both criminal and civil courts with equal success. He was a perfect epitome of Carson’s cross-examination; Marshall Hall’s marshalling the facts and Simon’s subtlety of law.

There are myriad cases which brought Jinnah to the limelight and won him great name and fame; some of such famous cases are worth mentioning here. One such case was of Bal Ganghadar Talik, a prominent Indian national leader, was convicted for sedition. Mr. Jinnah appeared in the appeal before the Division Bench of Bombay High Court and drew a distinction between disaffection and disapprobation. The sentence was set aside.

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In another well-known defamation case of B.G Horniman, Jinnah’s unbeatable arguments led to the conviction of the editor, printer, and publisher of the paper. Where OscarWildee had failed in a somewhat similar case, Horniman succeeded due to Jinnah’s skill. Another popular case that added feather in Jinnah’s cap was Bowla Murder Case, which arose out of the infatuation of Maharajah of Indore for Mumtaz, the then beauty queen of India, and in which at one stage, the well-known British Lawyer, Marshal Hall, was being hired, Mr, Jinnah appeared for the main accused, and at least saved him from the gallows.

Jinnah is also venerated for his advocacy for Ghazi Illum Din Shaheed. In the appea,l Jinnah, representing him, pleaded that provocation coupled with the youth of the accused were good grounds for not inflicting death penalty. The British judges however did not give any weight to these humble submissions; and the young man was executed. Though Jinnah lost the case, yet he won the hearts of millions of Muslims for good. Besides, many anecdotes attributed to Jinnah are also popular among legal fraternity.  Once Justice Martin angrily shouting at Jinnah said. “Jinnah you are not addressing a third class magistrate”.

As Jinnah was passing through his lean time and facing the teething troubles of his career, he decided to apply for the temporary vacancy.

Jinnah counter-blasted: “there isn’t a third class counsel before your lordship.” In 1941, Jinnah appeared before sindh chief court for the appellants in the case of Bishamberdas and co. versus sachoomal. Thousands thronged to the court to hear him. The court room was jam-packed and the corridors were full when chief justice Davis and Justice Weston entered. Seeing the multitude, CJ, asked the court to clear and close the door of the court-room. Jinnah got up and smilingly said that the doors of justice must always remain open. The judges agreed to the suggestion provided the crowd remained quiet.

In addition, Jinnah’s legal competence was acknowledged by both the Bar and the Bench. One of the celebrated jurists Professor Raza of St. Xavier’s college, Bombay, who was empanelled on various juries, portrayed him as the “magician withthe monocle”.  Another renowned justice Mr. Mohammad Munir, former chief Justice of Pakistan while speaking on Jinnah in the seminar at the University of Punjab on 23RD March 1976 recalled Jinnah in the following historic words:” I have appeared with or against or heard as a judge some of the greatest Lawyers of England and India—lawyers like Mr. Pritt Q.C, Mr. Diplock Q.C, Soft spoken Bhulabhai Desai, aggressive K.M Munshi, another top Lawyer of Bombay.

Read more: National Library of Pakistan restoring Quaid e Azam’s manuscripts

Sir Tej Bahadur Supru pronouncing Arabic Sighas in a wakf case, Mr. Hasan Imam, many bald and grey headed veterans of the Lahore Bar; But in my long experience I have never noticed that masterly analysis, classification and presentation of facts and the lucidity and subtlety of argument which I heard in a few Bombay cases argued by Mr.jinnah.” Besides, a prominent lawyer K.M Munshi once remarked:” M.A Jinnah was another eminent lawyer of that period. Tall and impeccably dressed, he stood in a class by himself. His advocacy was characterized by strong commonsense, great courage and the forthright approach”.

Finally, I would quote Joachim Alva, the editor of the Forum who observed: “one place will long cherish Jinnah’s memory; there it remains imperishable. Courage and sheer impudence have won him great fame in the law courts. His hypnotic influence spreads his fame all over. His terrific encounters with the judges and the bombshells he throws in the courts are well-known. As an advocate, he possesses gifts which cast a spell on the courts, the judges, the solicitors, and the clients alike. As a council, he has ever held his head erect, unruffled by the worst circumstances.

He has been our boldest advocate, no judge dare bully him. He will not brook any insult.  Jinnah’s ready tongue and brilliant advocacy have worked off all judicial storms and won him all around admiration”. To sum it up, to be a successful and an accomplished legal practitioner, the young lawyers should follow the footprints of Mr. Jinnah and learn from his brilliant legal career. Our law schools should also introduce Jinnah as a benchmark and a role model to the students of law and thereby enable them to gain as much  from Jinnah’s phenomenal legacy as possible.

Advocate Abdul Rasool Syed is a lawyer by profession and is based in Quetta, Baluchistan. He also has MBA from IBA Karachi. He is passionate about writing and contributes to various publications including Daily Times and Frontier Post. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.