Srinagar Court where Jinnah appeared as a lawyer

Srinagar Court where Jinnah appeared as a lawyer

Srinagar: The Jammu Kashmir high Court Bar Association has plans to turn a building into a museum to honour the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This was disclosed by Bar Secretary, Advocate Muhammad Ashraf Bhat while talking to Kashmir reader.  According to Bhat, the Quaid appeared as a lawyer in the said building during his Kashmir visit of 1936.
THE Quaid was on a private visit and was initially reluctant to appear in the court. However, after persuasion from local leaders, he agreed to accept the brief in the case of State v/s Haneefa Begum and Maher Ali. The Quaid impressed CJ Saberjor Lal, Justice Abdul Qayoom and Justice Seini so much that they decided the case in his favour in the very first sitting. He based his arguments on the Hijri calander. The court room was jam packed. In the very first hearing he got the verdict in his favour.
The facts of the case are as follows. The husband of Haneefa Begum of Islamabad got killed in a firing incident in September1931. Haneefa opted for second marriage. She married Abdul Kabir, a teacher by profession. The marriage did not last long and Heeefa after getting divorce got married to a police officer,  Mirza Mehar Ali. After three years Abdul Kabir filed a complaint against Haneefa under sections 494 RPC (Bigamy). Mirza Muhammad Afzal Beg pleaded the case on behalf of Haneefa Begum.
The trial court rejected Beg’s contention that his client’s Nikkah with Peer Abdul Kabir had taken place when she was observing iddat. An appeal was preferred in the high court. Meanwhile, Quaid-e-Azam visited Kashmir.
Sheikh Abdullah writes in his Aatish-e-Chinar: “I met Jinnah in a house boat at Shivpora, Srinagar and persuaded him to accept Mehar Ali’s brief.  But he demanded a fee of Rs 1000 per hearing which we agreed to pay.” However, Justice Yusuf Saraf of Pakistan administered Kashmir strongly denies this. According to him, Jinnah agreed to plead the case without accepting any fee when Mirza Mehar Ali apprised him of his links with Muslim League.
According to Saraf, Quaid-e-Azam accepted the brief just one day before he had to appear in the court of Chief Justice Brijorlal. Jinnah had no files or books with him which sent wrong signals to the jam packed court room. The people received a shock when Jinnah accepted the charges of the police. However, next moment the people present in the court room heaved a sigh of relief. He informed the court: “The iddat period is counted according to the lunar calendar if the husband dies on the first day of the month otherwise the woman has to count 130 days.
The Sadder Courts have to be shifted to newly constructed complex at Tengpora. The SDA, according to reports, intends to construct a parking lot and a shopping complex at the historic place.  The Bar , however, has initiated action to preserve the building where the Quaid showed his professional skills as a heritage building.