KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali regretted on Sunday that the judiciary lacked able and competent judges because of obsolete and outdated education system in the country.
He said it was very difficult to find competent judges because of the flawed basic education system and the judiciary was divided into two distinct categories — one with people having strong educational background and the other with people who joined the profession after having failed in other fields.
The CJP was addressing the concluding session of the first National Roundtable Conference on Judicial Education which was attended, among others, by the chief justices of high courts of Sindh, Balochistan and Peshawar. The two-day conference was organised jointly by the Legal Aid Society and the Sindh Judicial Academy.
The CJP urged judicial officers to enhance their English language skills because it was very important for the legal understanding. He said he always faced a great deal of difficulty in the appointment of judges mainly due to merit as most candidates lacked required skills in English language.
Justice Jamali said that most of the judicial officers were not proficient in English and recalled that only one of the 250 applicants in Sindh could clear the English proficiency test which was a pre-requisite for 70 scholarships offered by Norway in 2008.
He said the applicant judicial officers had been later asked to pass the required English exam within three months and only one of the 200 officers could clear the exam. He suggested special English courses for the officers and said their promotions should be made subject to passing the proficiency exam.
The chief justice said the rule of law was the main focus and the role of judiciary was of the utmost importance in establishing it. There could be no compromise on the concept of rule of law. “This is the backbone of any system; whole society is responsible, and not just the judiciary,” he added.
Legal Aid Society Chairperson Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid said the conference would open doors for further such events, adding that this was the first on a national level for judicial education.
Sindh High Court Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah said a judge was appointed by keeping in mind his/her knowledge and understanding of law, reputation and integrity and standing at the bar.
“But also important are critical analysis, interpretation and application of law, administration and interpersonal skills, financial skills and behaviour with litigators,” he said, adding that all such skills and abilities were to be inculcated and ingrained before giving responsibility for people’s rights and liberties.
Justice Shah said judicial education was part of judicial life for an effective judiciary across the world.
Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Mir Mohammad Noor Meskanzai said the role of judges in everyday proceedings was essential in allowing a defining change in public perception of the judiciary.
Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Khan said inherent paradoxes in the judicial system could be overcome through judicial education.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2016