Srinagar Law Journal with profound grief and sorrow condole the death of its founder Editor and a Senior Advocate of the State, Mr. Hakim Ishtiaq Hussain.
Ishtiaq Sahib (as he was affectionately known as) was admitted in Medanta- the Medicity, Delhi for treatment on 31st January, 2012. He was successfully operated upon on 6th February, 2012 and was discharged from the Hospital on 24th February but unfortunately while he was recovering, he developed infection which proved fatal and resulted in his death on Tuesday, 6th March, 2012 corresponding to 12th Rabi-ul-Thani, 1433.
To die is as natural as to be born, but deep is our grief when death leaps upon and snatches the one who is dear to one and all. Death has no regard to the convenience of mortals nor does it hear our supplications. May be, those dear to us are dearer to the Almighty Allah. ‘Those whom God loves die young’ and perhaps this seems to be a truer answer why the more virtuous break early their connections with the inhabitants of the earth.
Mr. Ishtiaq Hussain’s contribution to the enunciation of law at the bar is enshrined in the law reports of about 30 years during which period he appeared in a number of cases. He worked as the Addl. Public Prosecutor, Government Advocate and Addl. Advocate General of the State besides remaining as legal advisor and Standing Counsel to various Government departments, Corporations and Statutory bodies. He was equally at home in Criminal, Civil, Constitutional and Revenue law.
His hard work and dedication to the profession had captured the attention of every one and even the most skeptical of his colleagues were not reluctant to acknowledge his learning. His reading was not only very extensive and wide but also very deep and his knowledge of the case-law was almost unequalled. He knew almost every important case particularly from Jammu and Kashmir and every change in the Statutory law or judicial decisions. As a competent advocate he had few rivals. He was also universally recognised as a man of unimpeachable integrity and honoured by friend and foe alike for his incorruptibility. His life was a life of purity and character.
As a lawyer he had an outstanding career. He reached zenith of his career when before his death his contributions in the field of law were acknowledged by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and he was considered for elevation as judge of the High Court. In the list of seven persons recommended for the purpose, his name figured at S.No. 1.
Hakim Ishtiaq Hussain is not being admired only for his contribution in the Court but for his broad human sympathies. In personal life Ishtiaq Sahib was simple to the point of austerity and sometimes astonished people by his ways of living. He was gentle and courteous to everyone, high and low. His heart was always touched by poverty and he never stinted help to the poor and the needy. He was willing to help where help was needed, singularly free from all show and pomp. His humility of behaviour was something absolutely genuine and he was a gentleman to the core in every sense of the term. He was a man of few words but firm in his conviction. In his otherwise calm and composed personality was sheathed a warm and soft heart. His personality was massive and his sense of dedication and punctuality was remarkable. He was always very hospitable in his home.
He was a good friend and helped the juniors and his staff. For juniors he had an extremely genial personality. He was always helpful to his colleagues and members of the Bar. On his death when learned lawyers came to condole his death, every one said that Mr. Ishtiaq always helped them whenever they required any assistance or were in search of a citation for a particular case. Since his experience was varied and his memory was sharp, he always helped them to the best of his ability and knowledge.
Ishtiaq Sahib’s greatest contribution in the field of law was publication of this Journal-Srinagar Law Journal, first of its kind from the State. He started the task more out of his love for the profession and to serve the legal fraternity than making a fortune for himself.
The journal was started in the year 1979. While writing first Editorial for the Journal in July, 1979, he wrote:
‘We deem it an honour to have succeeded in publishing the first Law Journal from the valley and first of its kind from the State. We hope that we shall be able to make our humble contribution for the advancement of noble and dignified cause of the legal profession. It is a stupendous task indeed.
The small beginning we have made, is the result and out come of a long awaited earnest desire on our part to serve the cause of justice by placing before all persons connected with legal profession the latest word said about the law. In reality this is our goal. We assure the members of legal profession that we shall try to do our best and prove worthy of them’.
Appreciating the requirements of the Bench and the Bar in the State, he wrote:
‘It will strive to place before the reader the latest word on law. It will also publish articles contributed by eminent jurists pertaining to subjects of general legal interest. It will report notes on important Supreme Court cases. Our aim is to make the journal so complete and self sufficient, so that the lawyer practicing in the State will not have to turn to other journals for refrence and he will not be handicapped for fishing out the law. Nothing relevant for the lawyers shall be left out and the journal will serve as a reliable and comprehensive refrence book for him. In short the journal will go a long way in solving the present problems of the members of the Bar and the Bench’.
Being a practicing lawyer himself, he experienced the difficulties faced by lawyers because of the absence of a good law journal from the State. Thus was conceived a law journal which would combine the functions of a standard and reliable Journal. Ishtiaq Sahib worked untiringly to keep its publication on and to maintain the standard of the Journal. He was able to manage its publication in the most difficult days when the valley was witnessing unprecedented turmoil. The SLJ as it stands today is a living monument of his unceasing efforts. It was because of Ishtiaq Sahib’s untiring efforts, that Srinagar Law Journal has the distinction of being quoted authoritatively not only in all subordinate Courts in the State, but also in the Hon’ble High Court. It was because of his vision, perseverance and hard work that Srinagar Law Journal is considered a leading and authentic Law Reporter and Publisher in the State.
Ishtiaq Sahib will be remembered not only as the founder editor of the Srinagar Law Journal, but also as the author, and compiler of law Commentaries and other publications like Central and State Manual, Preventive Detention, State Code of Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure Code, Court Fee and Suit Valuation Act. In all the publications, the same thoroughness and systematic approach can be seen. His object was maximum usefulness to the lawyer and to make the journal and other publications easily affordable. And thus today, reliability, usefulness and affordability have come to be recognised as the hall mark of SLJ.
Almost till the last breath of his life he was thinking only how to serve the legal fraternity through such publications and how its services towards the legal profession could be improved and developed.
The Srinagar Law Journal has, under the leadership of Hakim Ishtiaq Sahib, come a long way in these 32 years. Treading on his path is no doubt difficult. But we dedicate ourselves to serve the fraternity by drawing inspiration from the life, philosophy and the goal of the founder.
With a view to improve the quality and contents of Srinagar Law Journal, it has been decided to publish the journal regularly now on Quarterly basis. Besides judgments from the High Court, it will also contain latest important judgments of the Supreme Court, which we find will be helpful to the lawyers of the State. The journal will also contain important law points which will act as ready reference for the lawyers. It will also contain articles on legal topics by eminent personalities and scholars. For this purpose an Editorial Board comprising eminent legal personalities and scholars has been constituted.
We will always look forward for the valuable suggestions from our esteemed readers. Since we publish the journal to serve the legal fraternity, we request the learned readers to send their views on the journal, which will help us to improve the quality of this journal. We shall feel privileged if the readers find time to bestow their thoughts on this matter. We also invite articles on legal topics from the members of the Bench and the Bar and law teachers, scholars and students of law to be incorporated in the future issues of the journal.
We are grateful to the readers for their support in the past and we eagerly await their precious suggestions and valuable guidance for making this journal more useful and advantageous for the readers, for whom it is primarily meant.