LAHORE - Just 0.5 percent candidates passed the competitive exam for the posts of civil judges-cum-judicial magistrates in Punjab, show results announced by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah here on Saturday.

Of 3,648 candidates, just 21 passed the written exam, the chief justice said during a ceremony at the Punjab Judicial Academy where he announced the results.

First time in the country’s judicial history, competitive exam was held for hiring of the civil judges-cum-judicial magistrates equal to the standard and quality of Central Superior Services’ (CSS) exam held for recruitment of the civil servants.

Senior Puisne Judge Justice Muhamamd Yawar Ali, Justice Muhammad Anwarul Haq, Justice Shahid Waheed, other judges, LHC Registrar Syed Khursheed Anwar Rizvi, District Judiciary Director General Akmal Khan and other officials were present there on the occasion.

The civil judges’ competitive exam was held last year in November and total 6538 candidates applied for it. However, 3648 candidates took part in the written exam out of which 21 were declared successful.

The candidates who passed the exam include Ali Raza, Ihsan Nawaz, Mansoor Ahmad, Muhammad Abbas, Muhammad Bilal, Muhammad Bilal Khan, Muhammad Zubair Shabir, Maira Hassan, Naseem Akhtar Nawaz, Obaid Hassan, Qamar Abbas, Sana Afzal, Shaheen Noor, Sumaira Jabbar, Yousaf Saleem, Allah Nawaz, Muhammad Amir Sultan, Muhammad Javed Iqbal, Saba Qamar, Sardar Umar Hassan Khan and Muhammad Tariq Rasheed Qamar.

Giving briefing on competitive exam, Examination Committee Chairman Justice Shahid Waheed said that they successfully replaced the traditional way of judges’ exam.  He said 32 centers were established for the exam including 21 in Lahore, 4 in Multan and 4 in Rawalpindi.  The judges supervised the exam in all three districts, Justice Waheed said.   He further said that 50 district and sessions judges provided their services to hold transparent exam.  He also stated they had also been framing charges against the candidates found involved in violating the decorum.

Addressing the ceremony, CJ Shah said:  “Justice must be done without any fear.”  He urged the judicial officers to deliv­er justice and should not even think about ignoring the law for it.

“Holding competitive exam for judges is not an easy task,” the CJ said while appreciating the examination committee constituted to conduct exam like CSS for the civil judges.  “Such exams are imperative to bring well-qualified people into the judiciary,” he stated.

A blind person was also among the total of 6,538 candidates, the CJ said, adding that women’ participation was not welcoming but hoped that it would be 50 per cent in the next exam. The CJ said they established their examination system in the light of the Supreme Court judgment. He hoped the examination system would be improved.

Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali also said that the competitive exam for civil judges was a great step towards improving the judicial system.  So far, no exam or test is held for appointment of judges with the superior courts.

“The appointment of superior courts’ judges as has been executed across world based on merit, fit and proper person and on the basis of test/interview should also be applied in Pakistan,” Advocate Azhar Siddique said.

“For the purpose, we need to have an amendment to Article 193 of the Constitution, extending the procedure of qualification as above proposed,” he added.