Don't take us as opposition: CJP Iftikhar
15 February, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said that additional appointments are required in the high courts which are facing severe shortage of judges.
Justice Iftikhar made it clear that the role of the judiciary is not that of an opposition to the other two organs of state, rather it merely places a check on the arbitrary exercise of power by any institution or functionary of the government or the executive. In his address on the eve of retirement of Justice Tariq Parvez who has attained the age of superannuation, the chief justice said, "The present-day judiciary made a clean break from the illegalities associated with the institution in the past and struck down the unconstitutional acts and actions of a usurper. This was indeed a turning point in the constitutional history of our country, as the restraint order of November 3, 2007, coupled with parliament's refusal to endorse unconstitutional action laid groundwork to build a strong and invincible democratic structure upon it."
Justice Iftikhar said that despite completion of the tenure of representatives of some bar councils in the recent past, new nominations have not been received so far although several letters and reminders have been issued by the office of the judicial commission. A meeting of the commission was held last month to consider the cases of confirmation of certain judges whose tenure as additional judges was nearing completion, but the proceedings were not held, firstly to await the nominations of the bar councils, and secondly, the attorney general of Pakistan and the federal/provincial law ministers were also not present.
In the next meeting, neither were any nominations received from the Pakistan Bar Council and the Punjab Bar Council nor did the said functionaries participate in the meeting. Nonetheless, considering the urgency of the matter, the judicial commission, by majority, finalised the nominations and forwarded the same to the parliamentary committee for further action in accordance with the constitution. The chief justice said the non-participation by any of the members of the commission deprives this body of valuable input in selecting the best and brightest for the benches; therefore, all the stakeholders concerned are expected to fulfil their constitutional obligation in the public interest.
Justice Iftikhar said that the high courts throughout the country were already facing severe shortage of judges, and additional appointments are required to complete the strength of the benches. "The process of the appointment of suitable candidates to fill the vacancies in the superior courts must be expedited so that the fruits of the sure administration of justice are delivered to the general public, who have been long awaiting the results of their pending litigation before various legal fora." He noted that low strength of the judges in the superior and subordinate judiciary ultimately causes great discomfort and inconvenience to the litigant public.