News Analysis |
The Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar not to pass personal and derogatory remarks against any judge. Justice Siddiqui has said that every judge is ‘respectable, learned and dignified personality’.
District judiciary needs attention, up-to-date policy and reforms according to the modern-day standards of justice.
The CJP is being criticized by some segments of legal fraternity these days for rebuking an additional session’s judge in Larkana last week. Karachi Bar Association also passed a resolution and urged the CJP to respect the judicial officers for appropriate dispensing of justice. The KBA resolution also pointed out that sporadic humiliation of judges before TV cameras may help increase ratings, and not judicial performance.
Justice Siddiqui also made it clear that the CJP has the right to set aside, modify or uphold the verdicts of other judges. He, however, does not have the right to humiliate them. His criticism of Chief Justice of Pakistan has surprised many in the legal community because he himself is known for using sharp language, insulting and humiliating treatment of government officials and top civil servants. Complaints and allegations of corruption are also pending in Supreme Judicial Council against Justice Siddiqui.
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In the latest instance, facts are that Justice Siddiqui had restrained private schools from collecting fees during summer vacations. However, a lawyer petitioned the Supreme Court on Thursday arguing that the IHC had passed a restraining order while assuming suo motu powers even though they are not vested to high courts.
In response to the order passed by the IHC, the CJP remarked that the “order [of the private school fee case] shows the mindset of the author judge”, and remanded the case back to the IHC.
These comments hurt the IHC Chief Justice who openly requested the CJP to respect his subordinates and also reminded him that he has no right to humiliate any judge.
It is important to mention here that Justice Siddiqui is facing a misconduct reference in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) which was filed by a lawyer in 2016.
The KBA resolution also pointed out that sporadic humiliation of judges before TV cameras may help increase ratings, and not judicial performance.
It is also important to note that generally district judiciary and police make the cases complex and distorted which highlights the malpractices prevailing in the institutions. There are various reports and articles which suggest that the district judiciary is under the shadow of corruption which needs immediate action and a will to be stopped. In this context, the efforts of the top judge to make the judges vigilant and alert working in the district judiciary are notable and important to ensure cheap justice for every citizen of Pakistan.
The behavior of the top judge in the session court of Larkana might not be according to the prescribed judicial norms, but his agenda to reform the district judiciary to make it responsive, vigilant and vibrant is appreciable and needs public support.
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Lawyers and judges should keep on pointing out what the CJP is doing contrary to the judicial norms so that the dignity and grace of the courts are maintained and respected. But at the same time, the CJP needs to be encouraged to continue inspection of lower courts so that he may come up with a comprehensive mechanism of reforms and changes in the district judiciary. District judiciary needs attention, up-to-date policy and reforms according to the modern-day standards of justice. The CJP is expected to do it while maintaining the grace of his institution.