ISLAMABAD - Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, a judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan, has said that judgeship is not an employment but a challenge and urged to impart justice on merit and also without fear or favour.

He expressed these views in the inaugural ceremony of a one-week training course titled “Orientation of New Laws” for Additional District and Sessions Judges from all over Pakistan including Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan here at the Federal Judicial He Academy (FJA) on Monday.

He said, “Since you have opted to become judges, then you should also behave and act like judges. Your words must match with your deeds. There should be no conflict in your words and in your deeds. As human beings and as judges you should come up to the expectations of the people.”

He said that a judge always gives decision as per his/her conscience. “God has given you the “pen” and if you don’t’ hand down punishment to those who deserve on the basis of available evidence, then you will have to face the immense wrath of Allah in the world hereafter,” he said.

“If you think there should be the rule of law in the society, then you will have to award punishment to criminals.

I know that the criminals always take benefit of the weaknesses in our criminal justice system and also from the procedural weakness in the civil cases but you are judges and you have to decide the cases as per your personal conscience,” he explained.

Lamenting the increasing ratio of crime in the society, the judge said, “Any country, any society, wherever there is no punishment for crime and criminals, then, crime surges and lawlessness reigns there. Whatever the stringent laws are framed by the parliament but if the culprits are not awarded punishments, then, nothing will change.”

Award punishment to the criminals as per your conscience and available evidences; you should not treat cases before you as simple routine cases and do not consume years and years of the litigant public in search of justice.

“I know that the prosecution system is not efficient and effective, usually fabricated stories are presented and every effort is made to weaken or erase the evidences but you are the judges and now you have become the additional district and sessions judges, then, you have to sift the truth from the fabrication for this you have to put your due diligence and efforts to decide cases on merit and also as per your conscience,” he said.

He also lamented the menace of corruption in the district judiciary, especially, among the court personnel.

“Indeed, corruption is the biggest problem in our lower courts wherein it is noticed, in some cases a few Judicial Officers are found involved in corrupt practices, and also the paralegal staff wholly solely rely on corruption.

We took several steps to weed out corruption from the lower judiciary when I was the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Lahore.

All of us must show “zero tolerance” for this menace of corruption, which is ravaging our society, in the courts,” he maintained.

The judge also lauded the content of the course saying that the worthy director general, who himself had been a judge both at the district level and the High Court, designed the course in an adroit and befitting manner.

Earlier, Parvaiz Ali Chawla, DG of the Academy, presented his welcome speech and showed his optimism that the participants would learn a lot from the orientation course which was a blend of traditional as well as subjects of global importance such as Intellectual Property laws, Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010, Cyber Crime, Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), Common mistakes being committed by Judicial Officers in civil matters etc., here at the Academy.

Hashim Abro, spokesman of the Academy on this occasion informed that 15 additional district and sessions judges, three of them female judges, are undergoing one week training at the Academy.