Rawalpindi - The legal fraternity yesterday observed strike and boycotted court proceedings against a committee formed to take disciplinary action against the lawyers on their unprofessional behaviour.

The committee was constituted by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

On the call of Punjab Bar Council, the district bar association observed strike and asked its member lawyers not to attend court proceedings. However, a visit to the courts by this correspondent revealed that the strike was partial as many lawyers appeared before the judges to contest their cases while the litigants also hailed the decision of LHC CJ Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

“I support decision of the CJ LHC as no competent authority exists anywhere to take legal action against lawyers who misbehave with clients,” said Fazal Hussain, a litigant who arrived there to appear before the court in his land case. He said the lawyers should not create problems for their clients.

He said that majority of lawyer demand fee in advance and when they do not appear in the court, it is always tormenting for their clients.

The strike was partial as a good number of lawyers appeared in the courts. Many lawyers did not favour the call for the strike by the DBA and Punjab Bar Council, said a young lawyer who did not want to be named. He said that the lawyers observe strike in major cities such as Rawalpindi. The lawyers in small towns such as Taxila, Murree, Gujar Khan and Kahuta do not fully follow the call for strike, he said.

Secretary General DBA Advocate Sardar Bilal Yaqoob, while talking to media men, said the lawyers were upset with the decision to set up the committee consisting of LHC judges. He said that the committee had been authorised to initiate disciplinary action against the lawyers found involved in malpractices or misbehaving with judicial officers.

Advocate Sardar Bilal said that the Supervisory Committee of the LHC judges was a parallel forum to Punjab Bar Council. He said that earlier Punjab Bar Council was to hear complaints against the lawyers and to make decision against them. He claimed the lawyers observed complete strike in Rawalpindi to protest the decision of CJ LHC.

DBA President Advocate Shaukat Rauf Siddiqui, when contacted, said that Punjab Bar Council was not happy with the decision. He said that the LHC CJ in a meeting assured the Punjab Bar Council members that he would take back his decision about forming the committee.

The president said that the chief justice, however, went ahead with his decision and the supervisory committee had already taken action against two senior lawyers. He said that the committee had taken action against Advocate Rana Saeed Anwar, vice president Lahore Bar Association, and Advocate Asif Bashr Mirza, former president of Ferozwala Bar Association. He said that the PBC considers the action unlawful and without jurisdiction.