Former Supreme Court (SC) judge, Justice (retd) Rana Bhagwandas said compromises the government has made to deliver justice have demoralised the judiciary.
“The judiciary has been ‘compromising’ with the government since the country’s independence,” he said, while addressing lawyers at a programme titled ‘Independence of Judiciary’ held at the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Saturday.
Bhagwandas said that despite the fact that all apex court judges have to swear an oath to protect and defend the constitution, some judges took oath as provisional constitutional order (PCO) judges and supported former president Pervez Musharraf’s regime. In November 2007, Musharraf imposed emergency in the country and suspended the constitution. All judges, except the PCO judges, were deposed from the judiciary.
He added that in 1997, 10 judges violated the judicial code of conduct by supporting former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and dismissing the Supreme Court’s chief justice at the time, Sajjad Ali Shah. Justice Bhagwandas said that the most difficult task for a country after independence was to formulate a constitution. He maintained parliamentarians could have prevented governments from being unconstitutionally dissolved by enacting laws to thwart such moves.
Bhagwandas compared the Pakistani judiciary to the one in India, saying that India’s judiciary was far more independent and strong. “Any country’s judiciary should be consistent and uninterrupted. India’s judiciary has never been bothered by the Indian military,” Bhagwandas maintained.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2012.