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Why are judges not working in Punjab?

A group of ten Pattoki tehsil court judges have signed up for leaves on Friday in protest to mistreatment meted out on one female judge by a senior lawyer, local media reported. Why are judges not working?

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A group of ten Pattoki tehsil court judges have signed up for leaves on Friday in protest to mistreatment meted out on one female judge by a senior lawyer, local media reported. According to the details, the president of Pattoki bar association, Mudassir Naeem Bhatti blurted out expletives to a female judge of Pattoki tehsil court while he also brawled with another civil judge.

The judges reportedly claim that Bhatti was drunk and that he said expletives and misbehaved with the female judge while intoxicated.

The scene has reported to have transpired on Thursday in protest to which a group of ten judges have applied for holidays from work as their comrade had to bear mistreatment of a lawyer who they say was inebriated.

These 10 judges have reportedly stopped discharging their duties already in a bid to protest the abusive conduct and slander of their ally judge.

Violence in courts

This was not the first incident of its kind. On August 21, 2017, angry lawyers broke down the main entrance gate of the court and went to Mall Road forming a protest demonstration after a five-member bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered to arrest Sher Zaman Qureshi, President High Court Bar Multan, in contempt of court case.

On April 8, 2019, lawyers thrashed a warden and an assistant warden for trying to issue them a challan over the violation of traffic rules on Jail Road in Lahore.

In 2019, on April 25, a local lawyer attacked Senior Civil Judge Khalid Mehmood in Jaranwala, an underdeveloped Tehsil of Faisalabad, with a chair and busted his head wide open.

Read more: Model Courts: Why do lawyers oppose after an outclass performance?

In December 2019, a large group of lawyers stormed the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), beating up lawyers and hospital staff as well as vandalising public property. According to the  Punjab Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Shahnawaz Ismail, the attack was a reaction from lawyers to a video that went viral the previous day.

Pakistan’s legal system needs reforms?

Analysts believe that judges and lawyers have the same substantive social responsibility within the field of law that is to let the legal discourse evolve and help it become supportive to achieve latent and manifest societal goals. The only difference which exists between a lawyer and a judge is procedural which is manifested while performing their assigned roles towards the same ends.

Dr. Moeed Pirzada, a prominent legal analyst, noted that: “it is said that law and music are the highest achievements of human civilization and mind – the reason perhaps is that both reflect the human grasp of proportion. Law is the codification of human logic and reasoning. While it finds expressions as sections and sub-sections but if interpretation ignores the philosophy behind then courts cease to exist – for buildings, furniture and fixtures don’t constitute a court; it’s the moral authority of the decision that matters.”

Senior lawyers in the country need to focus on reforming their formal and informal organizations so that goons who have no respect for law and the judge must not become a part of the legal fraternity.

Read more: Pakistan’s lax justice system and millions of pending cases

For a more practical solution, professors at law schools need to re-evaluate their courses and overall environment which should ideally produce individuals with an intention to eliminate injustice from society and replace it with the rule of law, not become dignified criminals.

A law student particularly one who is studying in a public sector university needs more attention in the present context so that a sense of social responsibility may be inculcated in his/her mind.

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