MABAD Administering justice is not only the job of the judiciary but all the three organs of the state, said Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary while addressing a full court reference held to bid farewell to Justice Rahmat Hussain Hussain Jafferi, who retired Sunday on attaining the age of superannuation.
Attorney General Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq, Senator Mohammad Kazim Khan, Vice-Chairman Pakistan Bar Council and Asma Jahangir President Supreme Court Bar Association also paid tributes to Justice Rahmat Jafferi.
The Chief Justice said that the time has arrived to strengthen all the institutions of the country and everybody needs to follow the principles of rule of law, transparency, merit and fairness in the discharges of his duties,
If an environment is created where all the three organs perform their functions while remaining within their prescribed spheres, it would facilitate the judiciary to enforce the fundamental rights of the citizens. These three institutions can independently lay down parameters for the systematic working for strengthening the democratic institutions as per the requirement of the Constitution, he said.
It is need of hour that the legislature and executive strengthen the judiciary, as it will ensure the survival of other organs in case some extra-constitutional forces strike the political dispensation, the CJP said and added its unfortunate that whenever such forces, in the past, struck the legislature and executive it also left adverse effects on judiciary. But now after the landmark judgment of 31st July, 2009, the Supreme Court has clearly done away with the past practice and declared that no judge of the superior judiciary will ever accept any unlawful and unconstitutional order of any authority under any circumstances.
Justice Iftikhar mentioning a Global Corruption Report, 2007 said: In our country, corruption in judicial system, especially in lower courts, is mostly due to age-old practice of bribery. This was the reason that the litigant parties and people lose hope and trust in the judiciary, because even for getting their legitimate rights they have to pay bribe. The CJP said: Accountability in the judiciary is necessary to eradicate corruption and the culture of bribery. The High Courts have taken stringent measures and removed many corrupt and ill-reputed judicial officers, he said.
President SCBA Asma Jahangir in her speech said in light of the National Judicial Policy the retired judges of the superior courts should decline any appointment, which is lower to their last-held status, adding the NJP also needs to be revised in the face of concerns expressed by the lawyer community across the country.
She said: We have entered a new phase where both lawyers and judges are expected to attain higher standard in the conduct of their profession, adding it is embarrassing that there were reports of lawyers manhandling judges of subordinate courts, while on the other hand lawyers were reportedly beaten up by the police in Lahore at the behest of a member of the judiciary. The independence of the bench largely depends on the independence of the bar and the bar must uphold the dignity of the bench, Asma stated.
The SCBA president remarked that though a guaranteed tenure to the judges of superior courts is the heart of independence of judiciary, ostensibly it has not been applied to seven judges of the superior courts, who await justice. She said it is the expectation of the bar that this serious and lingering matter will be taken up on priority.
She lauded the Chief Justice and Judges of apex court for summoning the heads of intelligence agencies in missing persons from Adiala Jail case, saying it gives message that no one is above the law.
PBC Vice-Chairman Senator Kazim Khan complained that abrupt fixation of cases before different benches of SC at Islamabad is creating difficulties and inconvenience to the lawyers. He demanded fixation of cases and issue of cause list needs immediate attention for reformation. He complained that PBC being the apex regulatory of legal fraternity is not being given due importance.
He said: Our country is passing through a very critical time of its history, it is imperative and also in the supreme national interest that all the state organs and institutions function, while remaining within their limits and sphere of activity as enshrined in the Constitution.
The Attorney General paying tribute said that Justice Rahmat Jafferi throughout his judicial career right from beginning as civil judge till elevation to the Supreme Court has always rendered positive and invaluable contributions to the dispensation of justice.
Addressing on the occasion Justice Rahmat Hussain Jafferi while thanking to all the participants said, Judges are answerable to the Almighty in safeguarding the rights, dignity and honour of the honourable people of their country.