LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has said that incompetence of judges, including himself, is one of the major reasons behind prolonged litigation and inordinate delay in decisions.
“We both — judges and lawyers — are responsible for the exploitation of litigants,” said the chief justice while addressing a seminar titled “New Horizons in Law” organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) on the eve of its silver jubilee on Friday.
The chief justice regretted that the knowledge of judges even about basic laws was not adequate and they were getting salaries more than what officials of other government institutions received. A single judge cost the government Rs55,000 per day, he said, adding that the delay in court proceedings had become a menace.
Says history will not forgive the judiciary if it fails to establish its credibility
“It feels like mourning death of a loved one whenever case of a litigant is adjourned without any proceeding,” the chief justice remarked.
Citing examples of excessive delay in civil cases, he said the Supreme Court got restored possession of a house to an elderly woman, who had been seeking justice for the past 61 years, within 15 days by taking notice on human rights jurisdiction. He said decades old laws were no more compatible with the needs of modern time. “We have to remove hiccups in the system and simplify the process with the use of technology,” he added.
CJP Nisar said he would not justify interference of judiciary in executive’s affairs but it had become inevitable to protect fundamental rights of citizens. He said the judiciary would never interfere in the executive affairs if the government institutions discharged their duty diligently.
“Who will be answerable for the denial of basic rights of citizens and non-recovery of missing persons?” he questioned before adding that he personally asked heads of the intelligence agencies for the list of missing persons and sought their affidavits when they denied custody of the missing ones. He said a special bench had been constituted for hearing cases of missing persons.
Criminals such as Mansha Bomb grabbed properties of overseas Pakistanis who always stood by their country in every testing time, the CJP said.
He said government hospitals had been facing funds shortage leading to poor healthcare facilities, while bottled water companies had been using groundwater almost free for decades and there was no one to ask them. Also, there was discrimination in the education system in the country, he said. “Whether these issues are not fundamental rights of the citizens?” the chief justice questioned his critics.
A total of Rs726 million was recovered from private medical and dental colleges after the Supreme Court had taken notice of their excessive fee structure, the chief justice told the audience.
“The system will not survive if dignity of the judiciary is compromised,” he declared. He said people initially did not take his idea seriously when he related the judiciary to the character of “Baba Rehmata” whose decisions based on his wisdom were honoured by fellow villagers. “History will not forgive the judiciary if it fails to establish its credibility,” CJP Nisar remarked.
He said he was SCBA’s oldest member as he started visiting it since his school days. “I have seen this bar growing,” he said, adding that he took pride for having witnessed working of many veteran lawyers of their time.
He said there was a time when lawyers used to raise their voice for truth and justice instead of defending those clients who wanted them to defend their cases by lying before courts. He urged judges and lawyers to serve the country, as that was their time to pay back to the nation.
According to Dawn.com, Justice Nisar said that now the time has come to hold judges accountable. “Those judges who issue verdicts in very few cases would also be tried under Article 209,” he said.
The top judge remarked that all those judges who sought privileges would now be questioned over their performance, and those who “do not perform will be held accountable”.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2018