CJP lashes out at court critics

LAHORE – “Judiciary is like an elder, don’t abuse your elder,” said Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday, snubbing those who criticise judiciary on getting unfavourable decisions.

Speaking in a rather aggressive tone, the chief justice said he claims with responsibility that judges render their decisions with utmost honesty.

“Where do these pressures come from?” he asked, refuting the impression that judges succumb to pressures from the outside. “No one is born yet [who could dictate the judges],” he roared.

“Judiciary is not part of any [political] design or plan and the judges are performing absolutely independently,” the CJP claimed.

Likening the judiciary to a baba (a wise old man), he said: “The judiciary is your baba… do not doubt its integrity.” No one should abuse judiciary if it renders an unfavourable decision, he added.

He was addressing a seminar titled, “Seeking justice, challenges and their solution”, which was also attended by SC Judge Asif Saeed Khosa, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, other LHC judges and judicial officers of the lower judiciary, law officers and representatives of the bars.

The chief justice said those against whom a judgement has been issued have the right to criticise the reason behind the verdict, but he questioned the insinuations of the “judiciary being part of a plan” or “being under pressure”.

Without mentioning any names, he said, “If a decision is issued against you, don’t abuse [the judiciary] by saying the baba has become a part of a design or a grand plan… The baba has not and will not become a part [of a plan].”

Justice Saqib Nisar said that he believed in supremacy of parliament and quoted his own judgment on 18th amendment that said the democracy was important for the state.

The CJP said, “We have taken oath to protect the constitution…. We’ll not let down the democracy and our integrity… I have also mentioned democracy in my yesterday’s judgment (that disqualified PTI leader Jehangir Tareen)… Because there is no constitution if there is no democracy”.

“You should be proud of the judiciary which we have made independent from within; every judge is independent… You must be happy that you have independent judiciary,” he said, adding that “we made all decisions on merit.”

The CJP also strongly criticised the TV anchors saying that “they don’t read any judgment and don’t know the circumstances. They give their own judgments. We are often stunned to hear them on TV giving decision on sensitive matters”.

Justice Saqib said on oath that he didn’t know Hudaibiya Papers decision was going to be announced the same day [Friday] they were to announce the judgment on Hanif Abbasi’s petitions against PTI chief Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen.

“If someone had been able to dictate [the judges], the Hudaibya judgement would not have turned out the way it did,” he said.

The CJP said that the judgments on the petitions against Khan and Tareen were announced on Friday because he has a “passion” to issue verdicts within a month. He further stated that there was typographic error in the judgment and they took another hour for announcing the decision.

Referring to the analysis on TV channels in the evenings, he said that the perception that there was some kind of division within the Supreme Court was false.

He however acknowledged the delay in the judicial process, saying some “not very competent judges” are responsible for the delays, multiplication of litigation and high expense in cases. An efficient training programme is therefore necessary for judges, he added.

Justice Nisar said he will get a chance to listen to the underprivileged plaintiffs of the country once the “political dirt gets cleaned by laundry of the Supreme Court”.

 

Threatening calls

The CJP said that the judges are called from unknown phone numbers in which they are asked to stay away from certain cases. “Some anonymous callers ask the judges to stay away from the cases with a message that some famous lawyer was talking about his deal with the judges at some place,” he said.

“Why no action is taken against such callers and how many disciplinary actions have been taken so far?” he asked.

 

He also expressed dismay over non-professional attitude of the lawyers who move frivolous litigations and create hurdles in the way of dispensation of justice.

“Whenever we impose cost on them for frivolous cases, they plead not to do so, on the ground that they have filed the cases merely on the insistence of the clients,” he said, and wondered, “What is the character of a lawyer who makes the cases only to get fee.”

He condemned an incident of insult and exploitation that happened with a female judge, saying that “who the hell are those who abuse the judges and take the law into their hands. Survival of the judges has become difficult.”

Justice Saqib said that flu and fever are the grounds of the adjournments and nobody knows for how long in night the judges have to study the cases. “I hardly sleep three to four hours a day and sometimes go on a walk with Justice Ijazul Ahsan,” the CJP said.

However, he said that it is a fact that perhaps they [the members of judiciary] have not rendered quality justice for those who deserve it, and asked the participants to make a promise to ‘give the best year’ [of performance] with ‘utmost honesty, dedication and integrity’.

The CJP emphasised training of the judges of the lower judiciary. Addressing Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, he said that “the judicial officers must be provided training so that they could know exact prepositions of law.”

Speaking with reference to the procedure laid down for appointments to the superior judiciary, the CJP dispelled the impression of the drawbacks in it.

“Since the day I became head of the Judicial Commission, I have been taking opinion from the bars first and then from the judges about making appointments to the superior judiciary.”

He pointed out that a judge must have three qualities: integrity, knowledge of law and good conduct. He said they ensured competency while making appointments and also reviewed it.

After making new appointments, he said, he personally checked performance of the judges and quality of their judgments. He quoted Munir Bhatti case and said that they had been looking to the rules beyond that case.

He suggested the bar leaders to write a ‘book’ on legal prepositions with the assistance of law commission.

 

 

CJP lashes out at court critics

 

FIDA HUSSNAIN

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