ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah dismissed additional district and session judge Mohammad Jahangir Awan on Monday over the Red Zone scuffle incident on Sept. 14.
An order issued by the IHC stated: “As an Authority, I am therefore satisfied that the Answering Judge’s misconduct is established and, consequently, in the exercise of the powers conferred on me pursuant to Rule 4(1)(b), the main penalty of dismissal from service.
Justice Minallah stated that according to a report dated July 27, 2020, obtained from the District and Sessions Judge (West) Islamabad, disciplinary proceedings were still pending against the sacked judge. On July 28, he was placed under probation and the investigation charges against him were pending.
The order added: “The main defendant, Khurram Pervez, is said to be the husband of a member of the Punjab provincial assembly.” Both the judge and the main suspect were taken to the police department, according to the material put on paper, but they were eventually released.
Misconduct stands established, major penalty of dismissal from service awarded, IHC order says
The IHC Registrar ordered a briefing from the Police Inspector General of Islamabad on the progress of the inquiry. The inquiry found, according to the report, that both sides were travelling on Constitution Avenue (south-bound), during which they had an overtaking altercation.
Khurram Pervez, travelling in a white Land Cruiser with registration number KA-004, allegedly honked horns that insulted Jahangir Awan, travelling in a white Toyota Premio with registration number AQB-992. Allegedly, Jahangir Awan made an offensive motion. Mr Awan subsequently went to a petrol station to refill his engine. There, Khurram Pervez and his cousin Mohammad Bilal pursued him, entered his car and attacked him physically. There was a scuffle during which Mr. Awan pulled his gun out and fired two shots into the air.
It was observed that the judge was no longer a mere claimant but had at the same time been a convict because the prosecuting officer had included the crime for the act of resorting to the use of a firearm , under section 337-H(2) of Pakistan Penal Code 1860. It was argued that the judge behaved rashly and negligently, which may have threatened human life or other people’s welfare.
There is no disagreement about the actions of the lead suspect and the judge at the station. The groups were definitely not common citizens; one was a prosecutor and the other from the treasury benches, was the spouse of a senator.
The order noted that the crime scene was located in the Red Zone – a high-security part of the capital. It is also evident from the background that they were not handled as regular civilians by the capital government and the police. Admittedly, as the event happened, the lead suspect was not shot, so the judge’s act of shooting twice from his gun had to be explained and he had to discharge the duty because it was completely appropriate for a judge to do so.
The judge entered into a compromise with the two convicted, the order said, adding the effect of condoning breaches of the law was to enter into a compromise with the key accused.
“The order noted that Judge Awan “failed to provide a reasonable description of the main defendant’s unexpectedly violent actions at the station if that was not the case,” nor did he offer a rational explanation for the use of a firearm weapon while, admittedly, the main defendant and the other accompanying person were unarmed.
It stated: “Prima facie, it can not be ruled out that the judge may have acted in a rash and negligent manner” and could not give a satisfactory reason to enter into a compromise with a person who had publicly handled him physically and that too, when he claims that it was unprovoked.”
Owing to the position of the participants, the event received exceptional media interest, more so because one of them occupied a judicial office and represented the agency even when out of court.
The judge was recently alleged to have behaved in a way unbecoming of a judicial officer. In that situation, the judge was not in a position to refute the assertion of the regularity and sanctity of the inquiry and, consequently, the tentative conclusions of the investigating officer.
The conduct amounted to ‘misconduct’ as specified in the order concluded under clause (e) of Rule 2 of the Punjab Civil Servants (Efficiency & Discipline) Rules 1999.