Courts are free, will remain so: CJ


Courts are free, will remain so: CJ

LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmad Saturday said that courts are and will stay independent and also continue giving decisions freely. He was addressing a seminar on the role of judiciary and lawyers for improving the justice system. The event was organised by the Punjab Bar Council (PBC) here, local media reported.

Justice Gulzar said that the decisions of the judiciary should not be a cause of resentment or strife as the lawyers and the judges are not rivals to each other. In addition, Justice Ahmed stated that it is incorrect to refer to any of the judiciary’s rulings as a “trend,” as the judiciary has no leanings. He said that courts make choices based on facts. “We will encourage criticism of court rulings,” he added.

The CJP said the lawyers should not misbehave with judges; they work in the same house for the rule of law, so they should also not be angry with each other. Justice Ahmed remarked that a lawyer is considered the custodian of the law and must know the proper decorum for when they appear in court. He said it appears that lawyers have “stopped studying”. He said the job of lawyers is to assist the judges and they should know how to appear before the court. The job of lawyers is to give arguments and debate in court, Justice Gulzar added. Justice Ahmed said that attorneys and judges cannot and should not be rivals. Lawyers have done the real work of protecting the legal environment; they should not be enraged with one another, he said. “Tensions between judges and lawyers are baffling,” he remarked.

The parliament has adopted legislation governing the appointment of judges, whereby a five-member bench oversees the process, the chief justice noted. The process involves the input of lawyers and also considers the opinion of other stakeholders, he added. The CJP observed that the judicial commission had now become independent and the times when judges gave dictation to it over appointments have gone. “Everything is being done through due process,” he added.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed made clear that protecting the fundamental rights of the citizens was the judiciary’s constitutional duty, and failing at it meant violating the oath. The CJP disagreed with the claim of Advocate General Punjab Ahmed Awais who, during his speech, claimed that he did not see the people’s fundamental rights being protected in our society. Justice Gulzar said he did not agree with the opinion, but adding that if the time came to that then the judiciary will fight against the situation. Furthermore, the CJP urged lawyers to put a stop to the ‘culture of adjournment’. “[Adjournments] make sense if there is an extreme cause, otherwise there should be no need to request for an adjournment,” he added. “There is no doubt that the number of pending cases has increased,” Justice Gulzar said, adding that there were several reasons behind it, Covid-19 being one of them; and some others which could not be discussed on this occasion. The litigants suffer a lot if cases will continue to remain pending and adjournments given, the CJP said. He also pointed out the matter of frivolous litigations, a practice that he said needed to end.

Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice (CJ) Muhammad Ameer Bhatti also addressed the seminar. He said the attack on the court from lawyers was not permissible if the decision in a case was not favourable. He said “it does not happen that the children of the house attack the father. There is a right of appeal if lawyers do not like the decision”, he added. He warned that lawyers could not be given a licence to attack courts.

District and Sessions Judge Lahore Habibullah Amir, Prosecutor General Punjab Rana Arif Kamal, Advocate General Punjab Ahmed Awais, Deputy Prosecutor General Sarfraz Ahmed Khatana and PBC office-bearers and members attended the seminar.

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