In the year 1972, I was appointed Additional Judge (of the Punjab High Court). Two years later I was confirmed. By the grace of God, however, I did not feel weak even as an Addl Judge, but realised that some other Addl Judges were reluctant to decide cases against the executive before their confirmation. This is a very unhappy position. Some Addl Judges would even go out of their way to please the executive. The fault lies partly with the judge and partly with the government. The judge's fault lies in his failure to do justice. For, justice has to be done anyway, even if the heavens should fall. The government fault lies in the fact that taking advantage of the judge's vulnerable position, it exerts pressure on him. In my opinion, the tradition of appointing Addl Judges should cease. All necessary precautions should be taken before selecting the incumbent and then he or she should be directly appointed judge, so that the decisions might, from the beginning, be on merit; and not on the basis of fear or favour relating to confirmation. It however goes without saying that a judge who lacks the courage to render an honest decision is not really a judge. Some judges would follow the dictates of their conscience only when the government is not involved. But if the government were a party, they would never go against it even if it were at fault, some out of fear and some in the hope of favour. Such judges are unpardonable. They have no qualms of conscience trampling over the rights of the people only to remain on the, right side of the government. What a pity. Before the British (not Britishers) left this country, one of them remarked that of all the institutions they were leaving behind, judiciary was the one which could never come to harm except from inside. This is exactly what befell our judiciary. Is ghar ko aag lag gayee ghar kay chirag say (It was, in fact, the very lamp inside the house that set the house on fire.) In the context of judicial appointments, I would like to enunciate a principle here: Suppose the office to which somebody is required to be appointed is A. And the candidate is B. The question for consideration should be whether B will gain by the appointment or A. If B is the gainer, the appointment is wrong. If A stands to gain, the appointment is right. In other words, if B is being considered for appointment as a judge (particularly of a High Court or the Supreme Court), B should already have a reputation for integrity, competence, and courage. In that case the office will be the gainer in the sense that people will say: "If a person like B is appointed to the office of judge, it must be a great office." But, if B is known and respected only because of the office he holds and not otherwise, B is the gainer. It must be borne in mind that neither gains except at the expense of the other. Now the question is whether the appointing authority or authorities are at all conscious of these considerations. Do they ever pay attention to the consequences of a wrong appointment? It must be borne in mind that the appointment of a District and Sessions judge as a High Court Judge or that of a High Court Judge as a Supreme Court Judge is not a promotion. It is a fresh appointment. The office of a High Court Judge is of a level altogether different from the level of a District and Session Judge. It is not necessary that a good District and Session Judge should also prove to be a good High Court Judge. The requirements of these two offices are quite distinct. A High Court Judge is supposed to make a progressive interpretation of law, while the subordinate judiciary is bound by that interpretation. The former is required to possess originality-and also a vision of the future of the society. Only a District and Session Judge with these two capabilities is fit to be appointed as a High Court Judge. Seniority is of secondary importance. There exists a similar difference between the High Court and Supreme Court judges. The two courts have different requirements. (How many of us know the difference?) We consider these appointments to be promotions with the result that incompetent persons get appointed. It is a matter of experience that some judges of the superior courts cannot rise above the level of a subordinate court judge. Before selecting a member of the Bar for appointment as a judge, again, it is necessary that his potential be assessed as also in the case of a District and Session Judge. Apart from all this, high moral character is an essential requirement. Further, one who aspires to judicial office stands, by reason of that aspiration alone, disqualified. So those who resort to influence in the matter of appointment to a judicial office must be ignored altogether. Without such approach, we cannot have the right kind of judiciary. Sometimes it appears that perhaps we do not want to have a capable judiciary or the appointing authorities are themselves incapable of making the right selection. May God help us. It is interesting to note that almost all the Superior Court judges taken from the Civil Service of Pakistan proved not only to be good judges - i.e. competent and popular among the lawyers - but also persons with a vision. In comparison most of those coming from the Bar, exemptions apart, proved - strangely enough - quite unpopular with the members of the Bar. The judicial officers selected from the provincial judiciary, barring a few exceptions, cut a very sorry figure on the bench. This cannot just be a matter of chance. Lack of manners, vision and competence, are something the judiciary of no civilised society can afford. Are we really civilised? Besides an inherent sense of justice and gentlemanliness, a judge at any level must possess intellectual integrity, professional competence and courage of conviction. Now a question may arise, as to whether these characteristics are hereditary or acquired. But this question is not quite relevant to the present text. However, what is relevant is whether the appointing or recommending authorities look for these qualities in the prospective judges. Are they even aware of the requirements? Only an immature and dishonest executive would like to have a 'pliable' judiciary. The writer is a retired judge of the Lahore High Court