Address of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry at the certificate distribution ceremony of District and Sessions Judges and Qazis of Balochistan and new recruitments in Punjab

Islamabad, June 15, 2013 (PPI-OT):

Brother Judges of the Supreme Court;
Learned Chief Justice and Judges of the Lahore High Court;
Director General, Punjab Judicial Academy;
Judges of the District Judiciary;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

First of all, let me congratulate the members of District Judiciary from the Provinces of Punjab and Balochistan who have successfully completed their training course at the Punjab Judicial Academy and are being awarded certificates by the Academy on completion of such course. I also extend my congratulations to the newly inducted Additional District and Sessions Judges from the Province of Punjab, who have completed their training today.

I am grateful to the Punjab Judicial Academy for inviting me to the ceremony. I highly appreciate the efforts of the Punjab Judicial Academy for imparting training to the members of judicial fraternity in the field of legal and judicial education. As you people are holding important positions in the justice sector, I am hopeful that the course undertaken by new entrants, will give befitting results in addressing the challenges of the legal system in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

It was felt all along that there should be a Judicial Academy for the purpose of training the new entrants as to what they would do and what they ought not to do in a court room, while trying matters before them. It was also intended to have refresher courses for those who are already in service, so that they are acquainted with the up to date legal position on a particular subject.

We appreciate the efforts of Punjab Judicial Academy for its services in promoting “quality judges”. It has been the feeling amongst the judicial fraternity that it is very important to have competent judges, especially at a time when young lawyers are joining the service.

The training course will train the incumbents as to how a judge should exercise his powers, as he would be dealing with the life and liberty as well as property of individuals, in the course of performance of their judicial functions. The training, which the participants have received, is not an end in itself, but a means to achieve a bigger end, namely, the dispensation of justice.

I am sure, during the period of your training you must have been delivered lectures on the legal issues as well as on moral values; on what should be the qualities of a “good Judge”, on how a judicial officer should conduct himself inside and outside the Court, the do’s and the don’ts to be practiced by a Judge.

Therefore, I am not going to give you any such sermon today. But please always bear in mind, that if in the discharge of your duties, you are able to redress a wrong, you must not hesitate in so doing. You should be a person with high moral fibre, i.e., high moral character, commitment, dedication and capacity should be your hallmarks. Simplicity and clarity should be your virtues. You have to achieve excellence in the administration of justice and come up to the expectation of the litigant public.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The District Judiciary is considered to be the backbone and also the face of the judicial infrastructure of the country, where the cases are originally tried in general, whereas the role of the superior or the appellate courts is to rectify any shortcomings or mistakes in the judgments of these trial courts. Thus, if these courts function in professional manner in coordination and collaboration with the members of the bar, most of the complaints of the litigant community will be addressed at that level. Therefore, my advice to you would be to let the bench and the bar work in a friendly atmosphere while maintaining a professional distance with dignity, appreciation and respect for each other. I, therefore, advise you to adopt “simple living and high thinking” as your motto.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

A society cannot flourish until there prevail constitutionalism and rule of law. The establishment, sustenance and development of democratic culture in a society largely depend upon the rule of law. The rule of law ensures that all the governmental institutions function in accordance with the established principles and within their legal domain. If any of the institutions transgresses its powers or attempts to enter into the domain of other institution, it undermines the rule of law. The governmental institutions should not be used for the individual benefit and personal gain.

The state policies should be prepared in a transparent manner with the sole objective of establishing good governance in the country. Good governance entails the protection of basic fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, including security of life, provision of basic amenities, improved living standards, access to justice and equal protection of law.

The Supreme Court has always stressed upon the need for adherence to the dictates of the Constitution and the observance of the rule of law. It has adjudicated upon matters brought before it within the four corners of law while remaining within the Constitutional domain, with the sole object of supporting good governance and efficient functioning of executive, legislative and judicial branches, so as to put the nation on the path of progress and development. Remember, the role of the judiciary under the Constitution is a pious trust reposed in it by the people.

The Constitution and democratic polity thereunder will find it difficult to sustain, if the judiciary fails to preserve the said trust. Bear in mind also that the Judges enjoy a monopoly to administer justice in accordance with law. In return, they are duty bound to deliver justice, to serve the nation competently, and to continuously strive for good governance and effective administration.

We all recognize the changes taking place. But we must go beyond. We must also be willing to embrace and adapt to change. We must scrutinize our social contract—both with the public and internally—to ensure that we stay relevant—that is, stay just—and continuously strive for the good. The judiciary in view of its paramount duty towards the entire nation is a strong supporter of democratic governance system, and wants to see democracy flourish in the country and all the three pillars of the state function in their own constitutional limits. Thus, it is in the interest of all the stakeholders and of course of the entire judicial system of the country as well, to create an environment of mutual understanding and respect, so as to foster culture of credibility and ensure substantial justice to the entire satisfaction of the general litigant public.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

The judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan of 31 st July, 2009, followed by other verdicts, rendered much needed support in blocking the way of the future military adventurers and dictators and in sealing the eras of taking supra-constitutional steps, which, in the past, were endorsed and upheld each time in the garb of the principle of “law of necessity” or Kelson’s theory of ‘revolutionary legality’.

The successive judgments of the Supreme Court have clearly laid down that the welfare of the people lies in following the Constitution in letter and in spirit, and in no other manner or method. The emphasis is that the Constitution must be, adhered to by all and sundry and in all circumstances. In consequence of the chain of judgments and orders passed by the Court on the issue, for the first time in the history of Pakistan, all the unconstitutional and illegal actions taken by dictator during the era of deviation from the Constitution were amended.

The Supreme Court also appreciated the role of the then Parliament in not endorsing or validating the unconstitutional and illegal actions of 3rd November 2007. In this regard, I have always acknowledged and applauded the role of Members of the Bench and the Bar in raising high and sustaining the banner of independent judiciary. They offered sacrifices and suffered hardships; some lost their precious lives, for the noble cause of establishing the supremacy of the Constitution and ushering in the era of un-interrupted system of representative democracy.

The movement ultimately triumphed and achieved its coveted objective, which enabled this nation to witness a democratic government, completing its full tenure and peaceful transfer of power through the civilized method of holding free and fair elections. The democratic system will flourish and get strengthened by co-ordination and efficient functioning of the three organs of the State, namely, the legislature, executive and the judiciary.

Therefore, as judicial officers, it should be your foremost duty and an endeavour to see that the faith and trust, which the people have reposed in the institution of judiciary, is not betrayed in any manner by your conduct. The eminent qualities of a good Judge are: a patient hearing, of gentle behavior, making a thorough analysis of the issues involved and a conclusion to be arrived at conscientiously on the materials produced by either side. Each one of you, therefore, should try to emulate these qualities, so that you pass on as a very good judicial officer. Society expects many things from you in the matter of dispensation of justice. In a nutshell, my advice to you would be to conduct yourself in a manner that you do not disappoint the society what it expects from you.

Today, a major problem, which we face in dispensation of justice, is the delay in disposal of the matters. For such delay, the reasons are manifold which may include but are not limited to having a small number of courts for millions of inhabitants, lack of infrastructural facilities, etc., which cause hindrance in quick disposal of cases by the judicial officers, but notwithstanding these difficulties, you will have to strive hard and put in all your efforts to dispose of the matters expeditiously, so that the litigant public is not harassed by protraction of litigation for years together.

It is this phenomenon that you will have to tackle tactfully by defeating all techniques and mechanisms aimed at delaying justice because that is denying justice. One thing I must tell you that every Judicial Officer builds up his reputation one way or the other and that reputation spreads like a fire amongst the litigant public. From my experience, I can tell you that the assessment of the litigant public regarding reputation of a judicial officer very often is accurate.

You should, therefore, conduct yourself in a manner so that your reputation amongst the litigant public would be one of a “good Judicial Officer”. As the Presiding Officer of the Court, you must exercise full control over your staff and you must fix up your diary or at least check up the same, if it is prepared by somebody else so that you can regulate the proceedings of a particular day smoothly.

You should come prepared with the matters, which are before you by doing some homework, so that you can record evidence or appreciate the arguments to be advanced by the parties not as a novice but as the one who has already mastered the facts. Law is a vast subject and the Judge made law is changing very fast on account of different interpretations given to different provisions of the statues. You will have to apprise yourself of the recent judgments and for that you must spend some time for going through some of the law journals. Deciding a case and writing a judgment for a judicial officer is like appearing in an examination, as your judgment and not the arguments of the lawyers will be tested in a higher forum in appeal.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Getting through successfully into the judicial service is the aspiration of thousands of young advocates not only of this city but other parts of country as persons from all over sit in the examination. However, only few persons like you are able to make into this service. At the same moment you should be proud of yourselves that there is no other service where one is truly independent and where their conduct can only be judged by their peers.

I know how much industry, patience and stern discipline and how many hours of self-denying, toil are spent by you, young men and women, who have been able to make it to this service. To all successful entrants into the creamy layer of the judiciary, my sincere wish is – May Almighty Allah grant you the fulfilment of your maturer years as you make advancements in your career!

Thank you!

For more information, contact:
Shahid Hussain Kamboyo
Public Relations Officer
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 920 4184
Fax: +9251 920 1001