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CJP says ignorance of basic rights violation of judiciary’s oath

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LAHORE:

Chief Justice of Pakistan(CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed made clear on Saturday that protecting the fundamental rights of the citizens was the judiciary’s constitutional duty, and failing at it meant violating the oath.

The country’s top judge was addressing a seminar ‘Role of Judiciary & Legal Fraternity in the Improvement of Justice System’ organised by the Punjab Bar Council at its office in Lahore.

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CJP Gulzar Ahmed 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 he did not agree with the opinion, but adding that if the time came to that then the judiciary will fight against the situation.

Furthermore, the CJP 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,” he added.

“There is no doubt that the number of pending cases has increased,” Justice Gulzar said, 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.

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The litigants suffer a lot if cases will continue to remain pending and adjournments given, the CJP said. He also pointed out the matter of frivolous litigations, a practice that he said  needed to end.

Read Judicial restraint and outgoing CJP’s swansong

Justice Gulzar expressed displeasure at the condition of district courts province-wide, and directed Chief Justice Lahore High Court Muhammad Ameer Bhatti to seek a report from his inspection judge on it.

Speaking on the matter of judge’s appointment, the CJP observed that the judicial commission had now become independent and the times when judges gave dictation to it over appointments have gone. “Everything is being done through due process,” he added.

After the CJP concluded his speech, senior lawyer Abdullah Malik also handed over an application to CJP Gulzar Ahmed demanding to take suo muto notice on the Sialkot lynching incident.

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The CJP after reading the application gave it to his secretary asking him to look into the matter.

Defensive atmosphere

The seminar’s atmosphere turned defensive when the LHC CJ spoke about the conduct of lawyers. He was responding to the representative of Punjab Bar Council’s remarks, made during his address, about lawyers playing a pivotal role in the restoration of the judiciary.

“Section 7 ATA should not be added up in FIRs registered against lawyers and the lawyers do not cooperate and their grievances are not addressed,” he said.

Justice Bhatti said that 99 per cent of the representatives of district bar associations appear in judge’s chambers for their personal matters rather than resolving problems facing the lawyers’ community. “Was it for this purpose that the lawyers had restored the judiciary; to  attack its own house,” he added.

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After Justice Bhatti’s speech, Muhammad Iqbal Saqib, the chairman of seminar and symposium committee, expelled the impression saying that if even a single case was proved in DG Khan that a bar representative had come to his personal matter, he will resign.

It is the allegation that 99 per cent of the bar representatives are involved in deciding their personal matters. He said there are criminal judges but they are part of the system.

At which LHC’s CJ Bhatti stood up once again and began walking towards the dice. He assured Saqib of taking action if an application regarding this was filed with the court.

He took decisions and expelled some judges from the judiciary and we will take action in future.

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