Judge’s tenure should not depend on acceptability of judgments: Justice Maqbool Baqar

Maqbool Ahmed

16th Oct, 2021. 09:12 pm
Supreme Court

Supreme Court of Pakistan. Photo: File

KARACHI: Senior Supreme Court Judge, Justice Maqbool Baqar said on Friday that a judge’s tenure in office should not be dependent on acceptability of his judgments by those wielding power.

Addressing a conference here, Justice Baqar observed: “The final frontier of judicial independence is that a judge should be giving decisions free from any undue pressures from either his peers or from unnecessary and unwarranted control of his institution.”

“It would be devastating if a judge’s tenure in office is in reality made dependent on acceptability of his judgments by those wielding power and the prospects of further elevation of a judge are jeopardized by the reason of his judgment not being well received by certain quarters.”

In his keynote address to the conference, organized by Sindh High Court Bar Association, Justice Baqar threw light on various aspects of independence of judiciary and their direct bearing on citizens of the country.

He pointed out the vital aspect of assigning cases, which pertains to internal dynamics of the judiciary, but has a very serious bearing on its independence, impartiality and integrity.

“The United Nations special rapporteur on the independence of judges has urged for a fair and objective criteria for assignment of cases, which would protect judges from interference within the judiciary,” he pointed out.

Justice Baqar said to him exclusion of a judge from decision making in sensitive matters, because of his independent and impartial views and approach, would certainly have adverse bearing on impartiality and independence of judiciary and may tarnish public perception about its integrity.

He said judges should be sensitive to the struggle of common man and they should be aware of and attuned to the people on whom they are applying the law.

Discussing disconnects or otherwise of judiciary with the citizens, he said, “The human element is extremely important to the judiciary to be relevant. The more mechanized, blindfolded or high-handed the judiciary, the further away it will be from the application of justice.”

He said a people-oriented judicial system is also imperative for the stability and independence of judiciary and for strengthening democracy.

“The judiciary stands between the citizen and state as a bulwark against executive excesses and misuse or abuse of power by the executive,” Justice Baqar observed adding it is therefore absolutely essential that the judiciary must be free from executive pressure or influence which has been secured by making elaborate provisions in the Constitution.

The concept of independence of judiciary, the senior judge said, is not limited only to independence from executive pressures or influences but it is a much wider concept, which takes within its sweep, independence from many other pressures and prejudices.

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