By: Advocate Ch. Abdur Rahman Nasir Burm
Historically, it is proven fact, that the Lawyers never compromised on the supremacy of the Constitution, Rule of Law and independence of Judiciary and has always played their leading role for the establishment of democracy and democratic norms in the Country.
Ruling Class and the Authoritative Institutions are desirous of ruling the country as per their whims and wishes and get the judicial verdicts as per their aims and directions. Neither any courageous political leader nor any Judge is tolerable. They have controlled almost all the professions and institutions with few exceptions in judiciary, media and politics.
Lawyers are neither servants nor slaves, so they utilize their rights and liberties as per Law and Constitution and do not bow before the illegalities and unconstitutional acts, hence they are pinching them and are at hit list to be handcuffed and seized.
To earn livelihood is a fundamental right and to adopt any lawful profession is constitutional right of every citizen which cannot be gainsaid at all. And any Law or amendment in contravention of the fundamental rights is unlawful, having no legal effect and liable to be set-aside.
Lawyers earn through hard labour, they are not salaried like other parasite beneficiaries. A portion of their life is spent in achieving some status in their Lawyers community and in the society. They face all kinds of hardships and problems but none of the Government ever thought for the welfare of the Lawyers. Indian Government has reportedly passed Law for pensionary benefits of Lawyers in recognition of their esteemed Legal Services but in Pakistan efforts are always made how to dominate and crush the Lawyers.
The honour and dignity of the Courts of Law is based upon Lawyers being Officer of the Courts, so the Courts must take care of the career and profession of the Lawyers and undo any such act curtailing their rights and liberties granted under the Constitution.
The Proposed Amendments in the in the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973, in section 41, are unfounded, vague, unjust and illegal. We the Legal Fraternity out-rightly reject any kind of move or bill to bar the Lawyers from their professional activities for life time on whimsical and superstitious allegations. We strongly condemn such kind of conspiracy and plans against the Lawyers’ Profession and to undermine their status as independent practitioners and for enjoyment of their rights.
The proposed bill is reproduced as under:
“1. Short title and commencement.—(1) This Act may be called the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils (Amendment) Act, 2019.
(2) It shall come into force at once.
2. Amendment of section 41, Act XXXV of 1973.—In the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973, in section 41, the following new subsection (6), shall be added, namely:—
“(6) The license of a legal practitioner shall be cancelled for life in case of physical violence against any person by him and the license shall also be cancelled if the legal practitioner is involved in cheating, fraud, forgery, false affidavits and deliberate concealment of facts.”
STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS
In view of recent incidents of protests turning into violent activities involving members of legal profession and to ensure peaceful environment in the legal profession and judicial proceedings, in future the aforesaid amendment has been proposed”.
The main amendment to be made is addition of sub-section (6) in Section 41 of the Act, which is stated as “(6) The license of a legal practitioner shall be cancelled for life in case of physical violence against any person by him and the license shall also be cancelled if the legal practitioner is involved in cheating, fraud, forgery, false affidavits and deliberate concealment of facts.”
There are two portions of this amendment, first is cancellation of license for life in case of physical violence against any person by him. Meaning thereby, the Lawyers must not launch agitations and protests. In case of any violence done against the Lawyers, they must not raise their hands or voice against that violence. Whereas right of protest and of rallies is granted under the Constitution and right of self-defence is established legal norm. The intending bill and its introducer, intends to debar the Lawyers community from their legal rights. Without proof or adjudication, how a lawyer can be prohibited from earning his livelihood, which is a constitutional right.
Second portion of the proposed amendment is, “and the license shall also be cancelled if the legal practitioner is involved in cheating, fraud, forgery, false affidavits and deliberate concealment of facts.” It is also another kind of baseless and vindictive approach for bringing the amendment. A Lawyer is a pleader of the client or party bringing the lis before the Court. He performs all acts on behalf of his client. If false affidavit or cheating or forgery is committed that is done by the party/client not the Advocate, hence he cannot be, in any manner, held liable for the wrong or illegal act of others. However, if any Advocate commits fraud or submits forged or fabricated Law Degree, he is even otherwise liable under the Law. No need to bring such frivolous and malicious amendment.
Please minds be clear, that Lawyers will never allow any such kind of mala-fide, abrogative and wrongful amendment to the degradation of their profession, life, livelihood, dignity or the liberty. The initiator of the ugly proposed bill must withdraw the same and the members of the National Assembly and the Senate must never pass such kind of perverse, scanty and dogmatic bill to serve their ulterior motives.
Lawyers have maintained the Law and the Constitution through sacrifices of their lives and has always encouraged the political institutions and the democracy, so political parties and politicians must play their positive role wisely and reject the sticky smelly bill.
If the proposed bill is not withdrawn or rejected, the Lawyers must launch movement and struggle for their rights and get set-aside this wicked bill and get approved their financial benefits and issues. Institutions and Agencies working out of sphere must maintain their constitutional limits for the benefit of the society and protection and integrity of our beloved country.
This bill being against the Fundamental Rights may also be challenged before the Courts of Law or may be undone by taking suo-moto action in the larger interest of the Lawyers Community and Civil Society of Pakistan.
The author of this Article is a Practicing Lawyer at Islamabad and Visiting Professor Law.