Lawyers torture judge who convicted DC, AC in Mandi Bahauddin

Lawyers torture judge who convicted DC, AC in Mandi Bahauddin

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GUJRAT: The tussle between a consumer court judge and the district administration officers in Mandi Bahauddin took an ugly turn on Tuesday when a group of lawyers, in support of the district bar association president who had represented the deputy commissioner (DC) in a contempt case, allegedly thrashed and manhandled the judge in his court.

The judge had convicted the deputy commissioner and the assistant commissioner for contempt and issued a show-cause notice to their leader. Scores of lawyers stormed the consumer court in protest against the issuance of a show-cause notice to DBA President Zahid Gondal by the judge for allegedly forcing him not to take action against DC Tariq Basra and AC Imtiaz Ali Baig for contempt of court.

While convicting the DC and AC, the judge had also issued a show-cause notice to the DBA president and sought his reply until Dec 1. The lawyers thrashed the judge, pulled him out his seat and put him into his official vehicle and locked the courtroom.

Both officers booked, transferred; case also against DBA president

Police, supposed to be present in the court, were missing during the alleged attack of the lawyers. The judge called police who arrived late and judge entered his courtroom in police protection. After the incident, judge Rao Abdul Jabbar registered a case against DC Basra, AC Baig, litigation clerk Rana Mahboob, DBA President Gondal and general secretary Yasir Arafat.

The bar office-bearers have been booked for attacking and torturing the judge and hurling abuses and life threats at him while the administration officers have been booked for instigating the lawyers for the attack. In retaliation, the Mandi Bahauddin DBA announced a strike of the court proceedings.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government transferred DC Basra, AC Imtiaz Ali, District Police Officer Sajid Khokhar and DSP Muhammad Shabbir. Sources in the administration told Dawn the removal of the officers had been made in the wake of the torture of the judge.

According to separate notifications issued by the Punjab government, Mandi Additional Deputy Commissioner Revenue Ehsanul Haq Zia and SP investigation Anwar Saeed Tahir have been given the additional charges of DC and DPO offices, respectively, whereas the charge of AC has not been given to anyone yet.

The court had convicted both the officers for contempt of court while hearing an application of a citizen against the district administration for his forced eviction from a house in Wapda Colony after allotting the same house to a teacher. On being summoned to the court on misbehavior of the clerk with the judge, both the officers appeared where the DC also misbehaved with the judge.

As they could not satisfy the court as to why they should not be tried for contempt, the judge convicted them and ordered the DPO to shift both the convicts to the Gujrat District Jail. However, instead of shifting them to jail, the police had shifted them to the DC house after arresting them from the court and they later left for Lahore where they filed an appeal for suspension of their conviction two days later.

On Monday, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ameer Bhatti suspended the conviction orders and three-month sentence to the officers and ordered their release on bail. Consumer court judge Rao Abdul Jabbar has been a district and session judge.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2021

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