CJP Iftikhar advises judges to be neutral, impartial
03 March, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has observed that a judge should always act with complete neutrality and impartiality.
He was speaking at a certificate awarding ceremony on the conclusion of a weeklong refresher course on 'Sessions Trial and Appreciation of Evidence' for additional district and sessions judges from all over the country, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir, at the Federal Judicial Academy (FJA) on Saturday.
"While conducting trial and dispensing justice, the trial court has to be conscious not just of the legal safeguards available but also essentially to act in accordance with newly added Article 10-A, providing for the right to fair trial," he said. He said that the criminal justice system was not unitary in nature. He said that its different components namely police, investigation agency, prosecution, court and corrections acted in a centrifugal manner, all striving to achieve common objects.
"So the judicial officers administering criminal justice are advised to acquaint themselves not only with the substantive and procedural laws but also the salutary police rules and different sciences and modern techniques of investigation, like forensic, medicine, DNA, finger prints, hand writing, cyber laws, prison rules, etc."
About the art of judgement and legal writing, he said that after a cumbersome exercise in trial, the "efforts of a judge culminate into judgement". "The judgment should be well thought of, analytical, based on evidence and free from grammatical errors. It should be transparent and even persuading for the loser of the case."
He said, "You are well aware that in the ancient and medieval periods, the test of guilt and innocence, especially used by Germanic people, had been that the accused was subjected to severe pain or torture, survival of which was taken as divine proof of innocence. Such ordeals involved a walk on glowing embers or to enter in the cold water, and did not require any evidence other than the accusation to put the accused to trial. But times, values standards and tests have now undergone radical changes.
In contemporary methods, judicial control over the admissibility of evidence has been a significant factor in the administration of justice. The concept of fair trial under existing rules of evidence requires in-court supervision by an unbiased judge who holds the balance clearly, truly and evenly between the prosecution and the accused.
As to appraisal of evidence, Whately said that the 'judgement is like a pair of scales, and evidence like the weights; but the will holds the balances its hands; and even a slight jerk will be sufficient in any case, to make the lighter side appear the heavier'.
He said that constitution had been treated as a mother of all laws, and that the courts in Pakistan were upholders of the rule of law.
He said that Professor AV Dicey enumerated three aspects of rule of law as: no one can be punished or made to suffer except for a breach of law proved in an ordinary court; no one is above the law and everyone is equal before the law regardless of social, economic or political status; and the rule of law includes the results of judicial decisions determining the rights of private persons.
"In Islamic jurisprudence, rule of law was formulated in the seventh century, so that no official could claim to be above law, not even the caliph."
He said that judges while dealing with lawyers, litigants and supportive staff should remain cool, calm and quiet, and never lose their temperament.