Address by Syed Qalb-i-Hassan, Judicial Year (2013-2014)

    Opening Ceremony of New Judicial Year (2013-2014) of the    

   Supreme Court of Pakistan held on 09-09-2013 at Islamabad.

Address

by

Syed  Qalb-i-Hassan,

Vice-Chairman,

Pakistan Bar Council

My Lord the Chief Justice of Pakistan

Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry;

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani,

Senior Puisne Judge;

Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court;

Mr. Munir A. Malik, Attorney-General for Pakistan &

Chairman, Pakistan Bar Council;

Mr. Asrar-ul-Haq Mian,

President, Supreme Court Bar Association;

Distinguished Members of Bar Councils &

office bearers of Bar Associations;

Learned Members of the Bar;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Assalam-o-Alaikum,

I feel greatly honoured to address this august gathering assembled here today at the eve of commencement of Judicial Year 2013-2014 of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, to represent the Pakistan Bar Council.

2.       My Lord, we are aware that the present independent judiciary came into existence and made functioning  because of valiant struggle of legal fraternity for supremacy of Constitution, rule of law and independence of Judiciary, which even cost them innumerable sacrifices. The positive and supportive role of media also owes our appreciation and acknowledgment as without it the Lawyers movement would have not been a success. The superior judiciary after its restoration, no doubt, started to deliver as per expectations and so handed down land mark judgments in number of important cases but it is also a fact that some of its Judgments have not  been welcomed and appreciated by the legal fraternity as well as by the civil society.

3.       My Lord the Chief Justice, it is bounded duty of a responsible and independent Bar to give its honest analytical views on functioning of judiciary in the public interest and for the improvement of system of dispensation of justice. Therefore, I venture to point out some important issues concerning the judicial system warranting due consideration and immediate action.

4.       First of all I would like to draw the kind attention of my Lord the Chief Justice to the very important issue of appointment of Judges of the superior courts. The legal fraternity has serious reservations about the procedure of appointment which some time lacks the due consultative process of all the stake holders and thus the important aspect of transparency and merit orientation, at times, is undermined. That is why the Members of the Bar, by and large, have been expressing their dissatisfaction on appointments so far made by the Judicial

Commission. The consultative process specially with representatives of the Bar within and outside the Judicial Commission is all the more very necessary

because as per present composition of the Judicial Commission the voice of representatives of the Bar is too little to prevail upon the worthy Judges who are in majority and so can take decision even without accommodating the view point of representatives of the Bar in the Commission. The recent appointment of 3 Judges of the Baluchistan High Court despite serious reservations and strong opposition almost of entire legal fraternity of Baluchistan, prima facie, looks to be not in good taste and in the interest of the system. Likewise, the Lawyers have not lost sight to the Judgment pronounced whereby the constitutional role of the Parliamentary Committee has practically been diminished. The Pakistan Bar Council, however, appreciates recommendations of the Judicial Commission for the elevation of Mr. Justice Musheer Alam to the Supreme Court and appointment of Mr. Justice Maqbool Baqir as Chief Justice of the High Court of Sindh. It is laudable that with elevation of Justice Musheer Alam the total strength of the Supreme Court now stands completed.

5.       The Pakistan Bar Council with a view to improve functioning of the Judicial Commission and to ensure more transparency in the process of appointment of Judges, suggested amendments in the “Judicial Commission of Pakistan Rules, 2010” and sent the same to Secretary of the Commission way back in March, 2013 but the same have not as yet been given due consideration. We, therefore, hope and expect that the amendments proposed by the Pakistan Bar Council would be considered and adopted as soon as possible.

6.       While referring to the recent Resolution of Executive Committee of the

Pakistan Bar Council, I may be allowed to point out that frequent exercise of powers by the Hon’ble Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, should be avoided so that parties are not placed in a difficult, embarrassing and disadvantageous position because even any opinion given or observation made by the Supreme Court becomes binding upon subordinate Courts as after exercise of suo moto jurisdiction by the Supreme Court such matters eventually go back to lower Courts having original jurisdiction.

7.       Likewise, the frequent resort to contempt of Court law not only eclipses the basic fundamental right of freedom of expression of a citizen but in the long run also bounces back and exposes the Judges to public criticism which adversely reflects upon the majesty of law. Resorting to invocation of contempt of court law especially in cases which concern the politics and/or politicians should, therefore, be avoided as for as possible.

8.       The address of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan alongwith Hon’ble Chief Justices of High Courts to Returning Officers and Deputy Returning Officers, before and after the May 11 general elections, were not generally

viewed and taken with appreciation rather it provided excuse to some of the political parties and their leaders to unnecessary criticize the judiciary.

9.       The legal fraternity and the public at large has also not appreciated the verdict of the apex Court given in the case of Presidential election whereby the date of election, earlier fixed by the Election Commission of Pakistan, was changed which, as per general perception, has been taken as interference in the jurisdiction and domain of the Election Commission. It is, therefore, important

that all constitutional functionaries should remain within their limits as prescribed by the Constitution and should not, in any way, encroach upon each others  established domain/jurisdiction.

10.     I will be failing in my duty if I do not place before my Lord the Chief Justice, the genuine difficulties of Advocates of the Supreme Court in respect of case management specially regarding fixation of cases and issuance of cause Lists. It is a matter of concern that cause lists specially supplementary cause lists, are often issued abruptly with no adequate notice to Advocates thus rendering them handicapped to cope with the situation and to ensure their appearance before the Court specially of those from outstations. The matter, therefore, needs urgent attention of my Lord the Chief Justice for  improvement of the process in that regard, aiming at to facilitate the Advocates and the litigants. It is also almost a routine affair that Advocates from outstations have to wait till late hours for the turn of their cases fixed for hearing but are adjourned for being not reached which causes not only great inconvenience and wastage of time of Advocates but also results in financial burden upon litigants. The possibility may, therefore, be considered to fix only that number of cases which could easily be taken up and heard by the Court or if in view of lengthy hearing of some particular case/s, the other cases are not likely to reach for hearing, the concerned Advocates and litigants should be told before hand during early part of Court hours, that their cases could not be taken up so that they may timely manage their return to their respective stations.

11.     At the end I wish to place on record the gratitude and fullest

appreciation of the Pakistan Bar Council for the valuable guidance and kind co-operation of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan enabling the Council to sign a MOU with the National Testing Service (NTS) for introducing Assessment Test for law graduates desirous to join the legal profession to practice law as an Advocate which is aimed at to improve the standard and quality of new entrants to the profession. Therefore, from now on a law graduate will only be eligible to apply for enrolment as an Advocate with a Bar Council, if he has passed the Assessment Test of NTS.

12.     Before concluding, I on my own behalf and on behalf of the Pakistan Bar Council assure that the Pakistan Bar Council will always lend its full support to the Judiciary in its efforts of protecting the Constitution, upholding the rule of law, maintaining its independence and playing its vibrant role to safeguard and protect fundamental rights of citizens.

 

Thank you very much.