Bar vs Bench (Satire)

Bar vs Bench (Satire)

The tussle between bar and the bench, which took an ugly turn last week, has finally been settled. What looked like an irresolvable conflict saw a surprise conclusion when Executive Committee of the Punjab Bar Council (EC-PBC) finally decided to exercise its unwritten, unspoken, unreal and unimaginable jurisdiction. By assuming appellate jurisdiction over the high court, EC-PBC has set aside the five member bench’s order dated 21-08-2017 whereby licence of an advocate had been suspended.

This proactive step of the PBC is being criticized by some who are oblivious to the concept of ‘jurisprudential evolution’, and who rely a tad too much on concepts like common sense and sanity.

First, you cannot ignore the outright honesty of EC-PBC in admitting its own authority, or lack thereof, to pass such an order. If you read the operative lines carefully, and with proper punctuation, you can’t ignore this subtle admission. Following is what a man deprived of “intellectual insight” may have read:

“So the impugned order dated 21-08-2017 is declared to be illegal, void ab initio, without lawful authority and jurisdiction…” 

This is how those capable of seeing through the legal jargon and spotting the subtle honesty may have read it:

“So the impugned order dated 21-08-2017 is declared – without lawful authority and jurisdiction – to be illegal, void ab initio...”

Some elements in the legal community have outrightly rejected this visionary, revolutionary and necessary judicial activism from a non-judicial body. Hmph! Was this move unprecedented? Yes. Unreasonable? Yes. Unusual? Yes. Unnecessary? No – well yes, but then, no.

Lawyers and the PBC were left with no other option. This was the only way to assert their dominion over all other state entities. “We didn’t like doing this, we didn’t know what we were doing either, but it had to be done..we think,” was the assertive statement from a well-known lawyer who is thought to be behind this brilliant move.

Following suit, a few of Lahore’s leading law firms have decided to constitute benches comprising of their most senior partners to adjudicate appeals in cases decided against the firm by superior judiciary. It is likely that PBC may discourage such a move owing to its undoubted, unquestionable, unseen, unnoticeable and unflinching belief in the rule of law.

Most excited of all on hearing of this order was a close aide of the now ousted Prime Minister. He couldn’t wait to break this news to his leader. On condition of anonymity he shared his party’s probable plans in light of this development:

“We are not going to waste time and money on review petitions before the Supreme Court. We had already pointed towards the people’s court. Guided by this revolutionary measure, we may constitute a bench of our own to decide our appeal against the Supreme Court’s verdict. We may not even need to, since our GT road rally can well be taken as the people’s court. You may see an order soon saying that the honorable bench of the people’s court comprising of 10000 honorable people has set aside – without lawful authority or jurisdiction – the supreme court’s order.”

There will be criticism from the bench, there will even be some from members of the bar, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the big picture here. Thus, as per an anonymous source in PBC, the Council is mulling over issuing a direction to all lawyers making it mandatory for each law office to hang, on a prominent wall, a big picture.

My colleagues in the lawyers’ community who couldn’t see the order for what it is, I ask you to revisit and reconsider. For those who still cannot see the wisdom in this move, to you the Emperor will always be nude.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of or any other organization with which he might be associated.

Zafar Zulqarnain Sahi

Author: Zafar Zulqarnain Sahi

The writer is a lawyer by profession. He is a Gold Medalist in LLB from Punjab University and has a LLM degree from University of Warwick, UK. He is also a former Member Provincial Assembly of Punjab (2008-2013).