ISLAMABAD, Feb 16 (APP): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered the authorities concerned to remove all illegal structures, including lawyers’ chambers from the Football Ground and around District Courts in Sector F-8 Islamabad.
A larger IHC bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani, and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb announced the decision on a petition filed by Shehnaz Butt, a resident of Sector F-8, against the construction of illegal structures around the District Courts (Katcheri), including the Football Ground.
The larger IHC bench, in its verdict, said: “It is noted that since 1980, the District Judiciary was never a priority. In the last two years, the administration of this court has strived to give the District Judiciary top priority. We would take this opportunity to record our profound appreciation for the commitment displayed by the current Federal Government because it has ensured that there is no impediment in establishing a state-of-the-art judicial complex at the five (5) acre plot allotted for this purpose. The Executive branch of the state has indeed given top priority to shifting of the District Courts from the current deplorable commercial premises.
“The government has also earmarked a separate five (5) acre plot so that the enrolled advocates of the Islamabad Bar Council could establish facilities for themselves.”
The court noted that in the case in hand the purported allotments made by the Islamabad District Bar in the playground or elsewhere were without lawful authority and jurisdiction, besides exposing the office-bearers, who were involved in such illegal acts to disciplinary proceedings for misconduct. Likewise, the enrolled advocates, who had accepted the purported illegal allotments, had also no lawful justification to construct chambers on state land, it added.
“We, therefore, declare, observe and direct as follows:
(a) The purported allotments made by the Islamabad District Bar in the playground are illegal, void and without jurisdiction and authority.
(b) The encroachments on any state land and any construction thereon are illegal, void, and liable to be removed forthwith.
(c) An advocate who takes the law into his or her own hands or violates the law in any manner whatsoever is not eligible to be certified by the High Court as ‘fit and proper’ to plead and appear before the august Supreme Court.
Likewise, an enrolled advocate cannot be certified as having ‘character and conduct’ for the purposes of being enrolled as an advocate of the High Court.
(d) We are confident that as a gesture towards the actual stakeholders i.e. The general public, the members of the Bar will clear the illegal construction and restore the playground for public use.
(e) In case the playground is not restored by or before the 28th of February 2021, then the Federal Government and the Capital Development Authority will restore the playground for the use of the public before the 23rd of March, 2021.
(f) The Federal Government shall make arrangements for holding a football tournament amongst students of public schools on the Pakistan Day i.e. 23rd of March 2021, to give tribute to the greatest lawyer of the Sub-continent and founder of the Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
(g) The Islamabad District Bar may submit its proposed plan to the Capital Development Authority for consideration and approval in relation to the Lawyers Plot i.e. 5-acre plot separately.
(h) The Federal Government is directed to commence and complete the construction of the state of the art complex of District Courts. We expect that the Federal Government will ensure that the state of the art judicial complex is made functional before the next Pakistan Day – 23rd of March, 2022.”
The court directed the authorities to submit a progress report to its registrar office regarding the construction of the judicial complex.