Former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Asma Jahangir said on Saturday that a number of judges would be sent packing if constitutional clauses (Article 62) applying to politicians were used for the judiciary.
Speaking to lawyers at a seminar on the independence of the judiciary at the Peshawar High Court, Asma said Article 62 could send parliamentarians home for not being “Ameen” but it also could send home judges if applied to the judiciary. She questioned the judges who took their oath twice as to whether they remained “Ameen”. Ameen roughly translated from Arabic would mean a trustworthy person with whom people leave their belongings for safekeeping without fear of being misused. In the constitution, the term has been used to define one of the many qualities of a candidate.
She stressed upon filling the vacant seats of judges by appointing them on merit and keeping in view their capability and integrity.
“This system is collapsing and only the bar can save it,” Asma said. “Article 184 (3) meant empowering the vulnerable but it is being misused.” The said article of the constitution is used for suo motu actions.
Former Supreme Court judge Sardar Muhammad Raza expressed concern over corruption in the judiciary. “If judges are dependent, dishonest and guided by a whimsical approach, the judiciary is not independent; it is, in fact, not a judiciary.”
In the decisions they make, he said, judges are often influenced by their upbringing and experience.
“A corrupt judge is not a judge at all, much less, independent,” he said. “It’s better to be a broker.”
Raza said the current manner of selection of judges in the superior judiciary will make judges subservient to the government as well as political entities.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2012.
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