PESHAWAR: A lawyer has moved the Peshawar High Court seeking the registration of criminal cases against the judicial officers compulsorily retired or sacked over corruption and the accountability of the members of judiciary in line with the international law and National Judicial Policy.

In the petition, Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel sought the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and National Judicial Policy, which declared that the judiciary should be held accountable for corruption.

The respondents in the petition are the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court registrars, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through its chief secretary, federal and KP law secretaries, Pakistan Bar Council through its secretary, KP Bar Council through its secretary, and National Accountability Bureau through its chairman.

The petitioner said Pakistan was a signatory to the UNCAC but hadn’t followed it in letter and spirit and even, there was no compliance with the judicial policy.

Petitioner tells PHC that some judges were compulsorily retired or dismissed lately but weren’t prosecuted later

He said the judges found to be guilty of corruption in the recent past were either compulsorily retired or dismissed from service but none of them was criminally prosecuted.

The petitioner said he had done his LLM research on the corruption of judges and the procedures provided by the law for action against them.

He said his book would be published on the same subject soon.

The petitioner said under Article 2(A) of the UNCAC the judges fell within the meaning of public officials whereas under Section 5(m) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, the judges had not been included in the definition of public office holders even though Pakistan was a signatory to UNCAC.

He said under the National Judicial Policy revised in 2012, guidelines had been farmed for eradication of corruption under Chapter 3(C) in judicial officers.

“Appropriate criminal cases under the relevant provisions of law may also be registered against the judicial officers and court staff members involved in corruption,” the petitioner quoted from the Judicial Policy.

The petitioner claimed that references were filed by advocates against the superior court judges but they mostly became infructuous after the retirement of those judges.

He said recently, a review implementation meeting was held of the state parties of the UNCAC in which it was pointed out that Supreme Judicial Council was not hearing the cases regularly.

The petitioner said the licence to practice should not be issued to the judges, who were dismissed or compulsory retired from the service over corruption.

He claimed that efforts were made to include judges in the National Accountability Commission Bill, 2017, to implement UNCAC but due to differences among the government and opposition parties the same could not be passed.

The petitioner insisted that the NAB was focal body to implement the UNCAC but it had mostly confined itself to victimizing law makers and bureaucrats and failed to abide by the provisions of UNCAC.

He said the independence of judiciary played vital role in the justice system but the same couldn’t be left unaccountable and accountability of judiciary would further enhance the trust of public at large in the judiciary.

He said even under the Islamic law every single person was accountable and a judge was also not exempted from it.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2021

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