Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed on Saturday observed that lawyers, instead of assisting the courts, resorted to insulting judges, adding that there was no reason for a dispute between the legal fraternity and the judiciary.
The country’s top judge was addressing a seminar titled, “Role of Judiciary & Legal Fraternity in the Improvement of Justice System”, organised by the Punjab Bar Council at its office in Lahore.
“It is not the lawyers’ job to use derogatory language against the judges or torture them,” he added.
The chief justice noted that when a bar council enrolled a lawyer, they should be taught the code of conduct.
“The decision of a judge can be appealed and commented upon, but cannot be disputed.”
He added that there should not be tensions between lawyers and judges.
“These tensions are beyond comprehension.”
The top judge also made it clear that protecting the fundamental rights of citizens was the judiciary's constitutional duty, and failing at it meant violating the oath.
The chief justice disagreed with the claim of Advocate General Punjab Ahmed Awais who, during his speech, claimed that he did not see the people's fundamental rights being protected in our society.
Awais had further maintained that the government had failed to protect the basic rights, and if things remain unchanged then ultimately the legal fraternity will come forward to ensure the protection of those rights.
Justice Gulzar said although he did not agree with the opinion, if things came to such a pass, then the judiciary would fight against the situation.
Furthermore, the chief justice urged lawyers to put a stop to the 'culture of adjournment'.
"[Adjournments] make sense if there is an extreme cause. Otherwise there should be no need to request for an adjournment.”
"There is no doubt that the number of pending cases has increased," Justice Gulzar noted, adding that there were several reasons behind it – Covid-19 being one of them – and some others which could not be discussed on this occasion.
“The litigants suffer a lot if cases continue to remain pending amid adjournments,” the CJP observed.
He also pointed out the matter of frivolous litigations – a practice that he stressed must come to an end.
Justice Gulzar expressed his displeasure at the condition of district courts province-wide, and directed Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti to seek a report from his inspection judge on it.
Speaking on the matter of judges’ appointment, the CJP observed that the judicial commission had now become independent.
“Gone are the days when judges were dictated over appointments. Everything is being done through a due process now.”
After the CJP concluded his speech, senior lawyer Abdullah Malik handed over to him an application demanding to take suo muto notice on the Sialkot lynching incident.
The CJP after reading the application gave it to his secretary asking him to look into the matter.
The seminar’s atmosphere turned defensive when the LHC CJ spoke about the conduct of lawyers.
He was responding to a representative of Punjab Bar Council's remarks, made during his address, about lawyers playing a pivotal role in the restoration of the judiciary.
Justice Bhatti said that 99% of the representatives of district bar associations appeared in the judges’ chambers for their personal matters rather than resolving problems faced by the lawyer community.
"Was it for this purpose that the lawyers had restored the judiciary; to attack its own house," he added.
After Justice Bhatti's speech, Muhammad Iqbal Saqib, the chairman of the seminar and symposium committee, dispelled the impression, saying that if even a single case was proved in DG Khan that a bar representative had approached a judge for his personal matter, he would resign.
He added there were “criminal judges” but they were part of the system.
On this, the LHC CJ stood up once again and began walking towards the dais. He assured Saqib of taking action if an application on the matter was filed with the court.
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