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Wednesday May 22, 2024

IHC CJ Minallah maintains criticism doesn't 'scare' judiciary

IHC Chief Justice admits judiciary is facing several challenges, stresses on provision of inexpensive and expeditious justice

By Awaid Yousafzai
November 02, 2022
Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah addressing the inauguration event of the Legal Facilitation Centre of Islamabad High Court’s newly-constructed building in Islamabad, on November 2, 2022. — YouTube/PTVNewsLive
Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah addressing the inauguration event of the Legal Facilitation Centre of Islamabad High Court’s newly-constructed building in Islamabad, on November 2, 2022. — YouTube/PTVNewsLive

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Wednesday said that criticism improves judges, but also maintained that it doesn't affect the judiciary.

“We will also be accountable. We are not scared of criticism,” the chief justice remarked during his address at the inauguration and foundation laying ceremony of the Legal Facilitation Centre.

The centre has been constructed in the Islamabad High Court’s newly-constructed building and its ceremony was attended by the IHC chief justice, newly-appointed Law Minister Ayaz Sadiq, former law minister Azam Nazir Tarar, high court judges, and session judges.

During his address after the inauguration, the chief justice admitted that the judiciary is facing several challenges.

“We cannot change the 70-year-old system with a magic wand. There is a need to strengthen the justice system through reforms. I hope the state will fulfil its promise to provide inexpensive justice to citizens,” Justice Minallah said, stressing on the need to change the system.

In relation to the reform system, the IHC's top judge informed that he has done the paperwork and has taken the federal government on board.

The chief justice congratulated lawyers at the occasion, highlighting that these buildings are meaningless if petitioners do not get inexpensive and expeditious justice.

“Our existence is for the petitioner. Are we trusted by the petitioner as we should be?” the chief justice told lawyers, admitting that it is not the case.

He also requested political leaders to play their role in restoring public trust. The IHC’s top judge shared that he found out through Article 7 that there is no mention of the judiciary in the state’s interpretation.

“People should get inexpensive and expeditious justice. This is our goal. Restoration of trust is our intention, as it is the petitioner’s right,” Justice Minallah said asserting the need to restore the nation’s trust in the judiciary.

During his address, he insisted that judges and lawyers exist for the petitioner, and it was their goal to serve the public.

"This should not stop at [constructing] buildings. The state will fulfil its commitment to provide inexpensive and expeditious justice to the citizens," the chief justice said, addressing the ceremony.

Judiciary should be respected: Ayaz Sadiq

Also speaking at the ceremony, Law Minister Sadiq emphasised on the need for strengthening democratic institutions in the country.

"If anyone of us is aggrieved by any court decision, we may criticise or disagree with the judgment and not the entire institution, as by doing so we may weaken our judiciary," the minister said, adding that political pressures should not be imposed on the judiciary to ensure rule of law.

The minister said that those who get the decision in their favour feel happy, while those who don't criticise the juidiciary. "Judiciary should be respected," he remarked during his address.

Informing attendees about his second day since assuming office as the law minister, Sadiq shared his delight to be present during the inauguration.

The minister said that a lot changed after General Musharraf's era and lawyers stood up for rule of law.

Commenting on PTI Chairman Imran Khan's remarks on martial law a day earlier, the minister said: "Sad to hear statements regarding martial law. We need to strengthen the democratic system. Leaders who talk about martial law should learn from the past."

The minister also congratulated Justice Minullah and Justice Aamer Farooq for their Supreme Court nomination.