Khawaja ends ‘eventful’ 23 days as top judge | Pakistan Today

Khawaja ends ‘eventful’ 23 days as top judge

  • Chief Justice Jawwad Khawaja’s term ends amidst lawyers’ boycott, accusations of misconduct
  • Ex-AGP writes to President Mamnoon for outgoing CJP’s enquiry by Supreme Judicial Council over ‘misconduct’
  • Major bar councils, including SCBA, protest barrister’s licence cancellation, announce boycotting farewell events for Khawaja
  • Ex-AGP writes to President Mamnoon for outgoing CJP’s enquiry by Supreme Judicial Council over ‘misconduct’
  • Major bar councils, including SCBA, protest barrister’s licence cancellation, announce boycotting farewell events for Khawaja

In a setting involving cancellation of Barrister Ali Zafar’s license and lawyers’ boycott of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Jawwad S Khawaja’s farewell parties, former attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) and chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, Irfan Qadir served a platter of accusations to the state head against the outgoing chief judge who served for a record shortest term of 23 days.

In a letter written to President Mamnoon Hussain, Qadir requested “under Clause 5 of Article 209 of the Constitution for enabling the president to form an opinion that Justice Khawaja committed misconduct and consequently direct the Supreme Judicial Council to enquire into the matter”.

Citing the authority of state functionaries, particularly judges of the superior courts, as a “sacred trust”, Qadir “informed” the president of Justice Khawaja’s “departure” from judge’s code of conduct.

“…if a judge is habitual in such defiance or disobedience, he must be proceeded against, not least to ensure that other judges do not emulate him,” he invoked.

“He [Justice Khawaja] ran the courtroom as if it was his personal fiefdom and often treated lawyers and litigants with condescension as if he looked down upon them from some majestic and elevated position. This attitude runs counter to the basic spirit of code of conduct according to which a judge is expected to be abstemious, polite and dignified in his demeanour and appearance.”

Informing the president of “grossest violations of judicial code of conduct”, the former AGP wrote, “… Justice Khawaja has persistently and blatantly misused his authority as a judge of the apex court in the most obvious of manners and to settle personal scores hitherto unknown in the judicial history of our country.” He cited the manifestations of the alleged acts as “prejudicial to securing ends of justice” and court’s “disrepute”.

Qadir alleged the CJP ridiculed state institutions, its officers and the litigant public. “He misused the contempt power of the apex court to pressurise the top offices of the country,” he said, adding that he treated officers and subordinates with “disdain”.

“Amongst others, Articles, 2A, 4, 5, 10-A, 14, 19, 25, 90, 129, 175 and 209 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 as well as the Code of Conduct,” the letter said.

In the letter, he quoted some violations allegedly committed by CJP.

Firstly, Qadir cited CJP’s alleged role in Arsalan Iftikhar’s case wherein he “knowingly became a party” by sitting on the bench with Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and then “directly interfered” in NAB’s mandate.

Secondly, he raised a finger on Justice Khawaja’s conduct inviting LHCBA’s resolution.

Thirdly, he objected to CJP’s alleged role in postponement of presidential elections. Fourthly, Qadir cited lawyer’s case with CJP wherein lawyer was “forced to SMS ‘You and your wife will have to cross my dead body’.”

Fifthly, the CJP was bench member in many controversial decisions, Qadir said, further citing the CJP’s “wild goose chase in banners case to settle personal scores”.

Lastly, Qadir accused Justice Khawaja of sitting on the bench in the case of a relative in violation of his oath and code in proceedings without jurisdiction.

The former AGP requested the president to proceed in this matter and try the CJP for misconduct under Article 209 of Constitution, which can lead to CJP’s removal.

LICENCE CANCELLED:

Earlier, the Supreme Court on Tuesday cancelled Barrister Zafar’s licence for a year. Barrister Zafar has vowed to file review petition against cancellation of his licence.

Following the news, major bar councils and lawyers decided to boycott any events organised to bid farewell to CJP.

Various bars, including Supreme Court Bar, Lahore High Court Bar and Islamabad/Rawalpindi Bar, have decided to stage protest against the verdict while the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) had earlier announced the same.

Moreover, Quetta, Peshawar and Karachi bars will hold urgent meetings today (Wednesday) to discuss the matter.

Senior lawyers endorsed the decision to boycott all gatherings and feasts arranged in honour of CJP Khawaja.

Lawyers said CJP’s behaviour towards Barrister Zafar and other senior lawyers could not be seen as a healthy tradition. “Advocates on record have seniority and it was not suitable to threaten them with cancellation of their licenses,” they said, adding that the way Barrister Zafar had continued to present arguments for six hours straight was praiseworthy.



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