SC issues notice to PBC on SCBAP petition

SC directs AGP to submit parliamentary proceedings record in SC Practice, Procedure bill case

ISLAMABAD, May 05 (APP): The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on a petition filed by Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan’s (SCBAP’S) secretary and additional secretary who were earlier de-seated by the PBC on account of misconduct.

A two-member SC bench comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Ayesha A Malik heard the SCBA petition seeking setting aside Show Cause Notices Dated 12.4.2023 issued by PBC to Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir, Secretary and Malik Shakeel ur Rehman, Additional Secretary, SCBAP.

According to a written order of today’s hearing, this constitutional petition had been instituted under Article 184(3) of
the Constitution for setting aside show cause notices dated 12.4.2023, issued by Pakistan Bar Council to Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir, Secretary, Supreme Court Bar Association (petitioner No.2) and Malik Shakeel-ur-Rehman, Additional Secretary, Supreme Court Bar Association (petitioner No.3).

In the course of the hearing, Abid S. Zuberi filed an unnumbered Civil Miscellaneous Application, which showed that during the pendency of this petition, respondents No.2 and 3 have already de-seated the petitioner no. 2 and 3 and sent the matter to the disciplinary committee of the PBC for further proceedings. Abid Zuberi referred to Rule 118 of the Pakistan Legal Practitioner & Bar Council Rules, 1976 and argued that, under the niceties of this Rule, the only competent authority was the disciplinary committee where a complaint, if any, against petitioners No.2 and 3 should have been filed to take cognizance and decide the matter as per the Rules, which was applicable mutatis mutandis even in the cases where PBC starts suo moto disciplinary proceedings against an advocate under Rule 125.

The counsel argued that no specific rule or any section of law had been cited in the show cause notices.

The court asked the counsel why the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution was directly invoked rather than filing a writ petition in the High Court under Article 199 of the Constitution?

In response, the counsel argued that certain dictums have been laid down by this Court wherein the invoking of High Court jurisdiction was not approved.

In support of his contention, he relied on the cases reported as Muhammad Shoaib Shaheen and others vs. Pakistan Bar Council and others (PLD 2017 SC 231) and Syed Iqbal Hussain Shah Gillani vs. Pakistan Bar Council through Secretary, Supreme Court Bar and others (2021 SCMR 425).

The court also asked the counsel to satisfy the bench on the maintainability of this petition under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution which predominantly related to the question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights conferred by Chapter 1 of Part-II of the Constitution on which the counsel sought time to make submissions on the next date, but right now it was contended that the reply to the show cause notices were submitted but, without providing any opportunity of a hearing, the drastic action of de-seating was taken which was a grave violation of Article 10-A of the Constitution and after passing illegal order of de-seating, the matter
had been referred to Disciplinary Committee.

Counsel Abid Zuberi requested that since the order of de-seating had not been implemented therefore, its operation could be suspended on the imminent apprehension that if no restraining order was passed, the incumbent to the posts would take over the charge from petitioner No.2 and 3. As we have been informed that the order of de-seating had already been passed by the PBC with regard to the offices of the petitioners No.2 and 3, therefore at this stage a mandatory form of injunction cannot be granted without notice to the other side.

“However, subject to satisfying the maintainability of this Constitution Petition, let notice be issued to the respondents as well as the Attorney General for Pakistan for 09.05.2023 at 1:00 p.m. Meanwhile, status quo is to be maintained,” read the order.

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