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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Supreme Court Bans Use of “Sahib” in Government Titles, Cites Delusions of Grandeur

CJP Isa declared that public officials should no longer be addressed with the honorific "sahib" in their job titles.

In a groundbreaking decision, the Supreme Court has declared that public officials should no longer be addressed with the honorific “sahib” in their job titles. Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa, expressed concern that such terminology elevates the status of public servants, potentially leading to delusions of grandeur and a perception of unaccountability.

The decision was made during the hearing of a bail application related to the murder of a child in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the court reprimanded the public prosecutor for addressing a deputy superintendent of police as “sir.”

The court’s order emphasized that the use of “sahib” in job titles negates the essence of achieving freedom, asserting that it places public officials and employees above accountability. This move aims to reshape the dynamics of public service and ensure a more transparent and accountable governance structure.

Chief Justice Isa’s order, issued during the bail plea hearing, challenged the traditional practice of appending “sahib” to job titles. The case in question involved the murder of a child in Peshawar, where the petitioner, Javid Khan, sought bail, arguing that the statements recorded by the victim’s relatives lacked reason.

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The court, headed by CJP Isa, emphasized the need to discontinue the practice, stating that it instills delusions of grandeur among public servants and compromises accountability.

The court further criticized the quality of the investigation by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police, highlighting the incompetence in handling the case. The decision not only impacts the linguistic conventions within the public service but also signals a broader shift toward a more accountable and responsible administrative culture.

The Supreme Court’s decision to ban the use of “sahib” is accompanied by a demand for transparency in investigations. Chief Justice Isa raised concerns about the lack of proper investigation in the child murder case, calling it a “classic example of an incompetently handled investigation.” The court asserted that the proceedings seemed more like an office of the prosecution, emphasizing the need for a serious and thorough approach to criminal cases.

As part of the court’s response, the petitioner was granted bail against surety bonds of Rs100,000, and a case of further inquiry was ordered. This landmark decision not only challenges linguistic norms but also underscores the court’s commitment to fostering a responsible and accountable law enforcement and judicial system.