Supreme Court judge’s valuable ideas

Published: 02:49 PM, 23 Jan, 2022
Supreme Court judge’s valuable ideas
Caption: File photo.
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Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court has identified some important matters concerning the selection of judges, their working and the lack of system for publication of court decisions and legislative business in Urdu.

While addressing a ceremony in Lahore, he said if judges in the district judiciary were appointed after examinations why there was no such mechanism for appointments in the higher courts.

This is absolutely a legitimate question and a right diagnosis of a major lacuna of the prevailing system.

If judges of superior courts too are subjected to tests, examinations, people would be better aware of their eligibility and competence.

What the apex court judge has pointed out is not being done because there is no such system in place. 

There is a laid down procedure for the appointment of judges of superior courts and no one knows about the competence of such a person. Only his/her reputation matters.

Justice Isa’s assertion that a judge should be fearful of Allah and the constitution is the best advice an apex court judge could offer to those performing this role in various courts.

It’s very unfortunate at present there are judges who are more afraid of the government and, because of their vested interests and future expectations, come up with judgments that support those in power. At times judges go out of the way to support the government’s point of view. 

There are also examples of judges succumbing to pressures, under which they deliver judgments to serve the interests of the rulers. Important judgments given in the past – even the death sentence awarded to Mr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto – were given under pressure.

If judges are really afraid of their accountability in the Hereafter, they will not go by their momentary interests. They will not like to be proud of their links with the mighty. For them their service in judiciary is like ‘solitary confinement’. 

The timidity Justice Faez Isa has talked about is this. Otherwise, a judge should be bold enough to resist all pressures and temptations to meet the ends of justice in all situations.

Any judge who doesn’t have the spine to resist pressures or face the consequences of his/her verdicts has no right to stay as a judge. Such people should better adopt other professions. 

It is said that justice should be done in all situations even if heavens fall.

Justice Faez Isa also pointed out that there was a time when federal laws were published in Pakistan Code but now this practice has been discontinued. He said that some work has been done in English language but much work needs to be done in Urdu. He said he did not understand why it couldn’t be published in Urdu if it is being done in English." 

He was of the view that the legislation carried out in the assemblies should be made public in Urdu for the benefit of maximum population. He said usually the legislation was made in English and majority of the citizens remained unfamiliar with the laws being introduced in the country. He said that how they could ask people to abide by law if they don’t know the law.

Justice Faez Isa will be the chief justice of Pakistan from September 17, 2023 to October 25, 2024.

It is expected that if his ideas are not acted upon by then, he himself will take necessary measures for the purpose during his incumbency.  

Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.