LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Friday declared Justice (r) Nasira Iqbal as legitimate President of the Lahore High Court Bar Association while holding that vice president could not assume presidents office for remaining tenure and this covet office should be filled through an election. Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed held this while announcing long-awaited judgment on a petition moved by Nasira Iqbal against a decision of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) which had declared Munawar Iqbal Gondal as president LHC Bar. The judge also set aside PBCs order. In this case Ahmad Awais represented the petitioner Nasira Iqbal while Muhammad Azhar Siddique appeared on behalf of Munawar Iqbal Gondal. The main thrust of petitioners counsel was that the rules of LHCBA allowed a by-election if the office of the president fell vacant. He had argued that the vice president could not take over as president for the remaining tenure. Whereas counsel for the respondent had argued that in 150 years of the Bar history, it had been the practice that whenever the vacancy in the office of the president fell vacant, the vice president took over as the president for the remaining period. And this practice, which was in the nature of a custom, tradition or a convention, shall take precedence over the rules. The judge held that the vacancy of the Bar president should be filled through an election and the vice president did not assume the said office for the remaining period. Therefore, in the facts and circumstance of the case, petitioner is the elected President of the Bar. Consequently the order of Pakistan Bar Council being in conflict with the law is hereby set aside. However, the court observed that both Nasira Iqbal and Munawar Iqbal Gondal are honourable members of the Bar. Both variously enjoy the confidence of the members of the Bar. Unfortunately both were placed in an awkward situation on account of the circumstances beyond their control including the lack of clarity and harmony in the rules applicable to the LHCBA functioning. The Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Act 1973 confers incredible autonomy upon the legal fraternity to regulate and manage their affairs including the election of the office-bearers. It is hoped that members of the legal fraternity through their chosen representatives will streamline this aspect of the matter expeditiously, the judgment says. The court, however, did not agree with Nasiras plea that Punjab Bar Council had no authority or jurisdiction to decide disputes of LHCBA. The court held that PbBC had the jurisdiction to take up and decide disputes of LHCBA.