HRCP calls for independent, accountable judiciary
* Justice Nasir Zahid says PIL should address public interest
LAHORE: There should be a strong, independent and accountable judiciary for the dispensation of justice and effective working of democratic institutions, jurists proposed in the annual general meeting of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Sunday.
A discussion on “Public Interest Litigation” was organised at the meeting. Eminent jurists Prashant Bhushan and Justice (r) Nasir Aslam Zahid spoke on the occasion, while HRCP General Secretary Hina Jilani, Justice (r) Tariq Mehmood and Mansoor Hassan Khan were on the panel for discussion.
Subjective decisions: Justice Zahid said the PIL was a vehicle for providing expeditious justice to create a welfare society. He said the Supreme Court should only issue verdicts, which “it could implement” or which “could be implemented at all”. Elaborating on the point, Zahid said the SC’s verdict on corruption did not mean that the country would be immediately free of the evil. He said 1.4 million cases were pending in the courts, adding, “When you cannot provide justice in cases, how can you dispense socio-economic justice?” He said the PIL should address the interest of a people at large at a time when courts were taking subjective decisions. Speaking on the occasion, Bhushan said the PIL empowered anyone to move the court on the behalf of those who could not approach it. However, he said arbitrary decisions should be avoided lest they create a judicial dictatorship. He said the government was held accountable through voting, while there was no such accountability for judges. In India, Bhushan said police was not authorised to register a first information report (FIR) against a judge without getting permission from the SC chief justice. He said if a judge was publicly exposed in India, it was considered the contempt of court. He said, “Independence means independence from the legislature, not from accountability…there are no rational principles to appoint judges,” adding that sitting judges were not “fit” to appoint judges or hear complaints against their colleagues.
From the panellists, Jilani said the PIL should not destroy democratic institutions and accountability of judges should be ensured for proper working of the system. Mansoor Khan, an academician, said the PIL was an aberration and the country was still following the outdate 19th century legal system.
Justice Mehmood said no principles had been laid down for the PIL, adding that rules should be laid down for judges’ accountability. He said “discretion” should be eliminated from the system, as it was the root cause of all ills being faced by the system. Expressing his views on the appointment of judges, he said, “In principle, consultation with the CJ is not necessary.” HRCP Chairwoman Asma Jehangir said courts should issue full judgements instead of short orders.
Source: Daily Times