ISLAMABAD: Justice Umar Ata Bandial finally dons the robe as the 28th Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) as he was sworn in to the top judicial office on Wednesday at a ceremony held at Aiwan-i-Sadr.
President Arif Alvi administered the oath to Justice Bandial at the ceremony, which was also attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan, judges of the Supreme Court, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan, cabinet members including Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Minister for Industry Khusro Bakhtiar, Senators Azam Nazir Tarar and Kamran Murtaza, governors, and president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Mohammad Ahsan Bhoon.
Former chief justices namely Asif Saeed Khosa, Saqib Nisar, Tassaduq Hussain Gillani, Iftikhar Chaudhry, Faisal Arab and Azmat Saeed Sheikh also attended the meeting.
The president on January 17 notified Justice Bandial’s appointment as the next CJP who will serve at the prestigious office until Sept 16, 2023 after which Justice Qazi Faez Isa will take the charge till Oct 25, 2024.
“Justice Bandial has the opportunity to steer the Supreme Court to an independent court and clear the huge backlog of around 52,000 cases besides structuring the exercise of the suo motu jurisdiction by the top court,” observed former attorney general Muneer A. Malik.
Earlier in his speech at the full court reference in honour of former CJP Gulzar Ahmed, the new CJP had acknowledged the fact that the entire judicature was facing the problem of backlog of cases for which extraordinary efforts were required to be taken at all levels in the hierarchy of courts, besides use of case management techniques to bring efficiency in the performance of the institution as a whole.
All courts, including the Supreme Court, should undergo performance audits to identify and remedy weaknesses and that one obvious problem was the large number of frivolous disputes that cluttered the court system, Justice Bandial had observed.
Their entry must be checked or else they should be put to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms since a great room for resolution of civil disputes through ADR exists, he had stated, adding that most of the tasks required expert input so that the court system could shed some of its insularity.
Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2022