Appointment of LHC judges
Akhtar Ali Kureshi
These days Lahore High Court is undergoing a huge stress due to scarcity of judges as the judgment of July 31 and thereafter resignations of PCO judges left the LHC empty, turning it to seek more appointments as about forty huge seats have to be filled expeditiously to meet and deliver the need of instant justice. Appointment of judges in the superior court is a serious and constitutional matter. It may create a source of great satisfaction for the Bar and general public if honest and competent judges are being appointed. As great Lord Marshall says that an ignorant judge is a punishment and complete disaster for the society, nobody of good prudence has courage to disagree with this quotation.
Therefore, right at the time of the appointment of judges, the government authorities, responsible for the appointment must ensure that not only they meet the minimum academic qualifications, have the requisite knowledge of law, experience and exposure but also possess a clear perception about our social, moral, religious, economic, political and cultural values. It is a famous saying that a judge is remembered by the judgments he delivers. In fact, in the induction of a judge, the chief justice has to play a significant role of highest values and integrity so that nobody could object to his decision. This precedent should be followed during the appointment of judges at every level.
Once a judge has been appointed, she/he must be given extensive training in the Judicial Academies as in Pakistan training is judges enjoy exemption from the training and its mandatory for only subordinates. There should be more academies at all provincial levels in the country as we have only one Federal Judicial Academy in the capital and similarly one in Sindh, including a recently started Punjab Judicial Academy in Lahore, where the qualified faculty of law, 'the jurists lawyer, the retired and the serving judges of the superior courts are invited to impart knowledge and share their experiences with newly appointed judges.
There should be a fully structured and thoroughly planned course for training judges so that they can develop the right approach for resolving factual and legal propositions and learn the art of writing judgments through a well developed procedure. The judicial conferences and legal seminars can help them keep abreast of the latest legal practices. An up-to-date knowledge of law is absolutely essential for the dispensation of justice by a judge. It is also the obligation of a judge to ensure the supremacy of the law and give relief to the litigants.
Giving justice to the oppressed is the sacred duty of the courts. There is a possibility that a litigant before the court may not be represented by an advocate, this drawback should not be taken against him or prevent the court from granting what is due to the anxious by applying the accurate law. It is the canon of justice that the law must be written on the sleeves of the judges.
Regarding the appointment and training of judges, it is convenient that a brief reference is made to the consequence of substantive law which creates, defines and regulates rights and duties of the parties. A judge must fully identify law; otherwise his pronouncement would result as a serious miscarriage of the justice. The judges in this regard, should apprise themselves of the essential set of laws such as the practical and castigatory law.
Justice and arbitrariness are affirmed enemies which cannot co-exist or persist together. It has been reported that various cases have to be remanded back to the trial court simply because of some gaffe committed by the judge, either in applying the exact substantive law or subsequent the right procedure.
Therefore, if the judges have adequate knowledge of both the above types of the law, the anguish of impediment in the dispensation of justice can be easily avoided. It will not only save time and money of the litigants and the court but also prevent the pilling up of huge logs of pending cases. Furthermore, it would also pardon the judiciary from the guilt of delayed justice created by our judicial policy.
Surprisingly, the element of research in Pakistan has been missing since long in every field including our judiciary, everyone says that the justice has been evaporated from our society because of lengthy and untidy procedure without keeping in view the increasing population and the fact that the volumes of litigation have been multiplied in last two and half decades.
It is a huge burden on judges and courts including high courts which lack basic strength to meet its needs. Recently, the government has increased the basic strength of judges in subordinate judiciary as well as in the high courts as earlier LHC had the capacity of fifty judges which was never filled in the past.
However, it has increased by sixty judges seeking an instant consideration for the appointment of judges in LHC so that the process of delivering justice can be secured. Let judiciary be above every kind of executive pressure, influence, fear, intrigue or corruption to make this country and its judiciary flourish and prosper in true sense.
The writer is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Law Professor, Freelance Columnist, Member of International Bar Association, London and Former Assistant Advocate General Punjab