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Sunday December 05, 2021

Assigning sensitive cases to particular judges impairs judicial independence: Justice Baqar

October 17, 2021
Assigning sensitive cases to particular judges impairs  judicial independence: Justice Baqar

KARACHI: Supreme Court’s senior judge Justice Maqbool Baqar said that it is absolutely essential that judiciary is free from executive pressure or influence but also from the undue pressure of his peers and from unnecessary and unwarranted control of his institution. He said assigning sensitive cases to particular judges impairs independence of judiciary.

He was addressing a conference, on Saturday, organized by Sindh High Court Bar Association at SHC bar room, on theme “The final frontier of judicial independence is independence of an individual judge from undue pressure from his peers and from unnecessary and unwarranted control of his institution.”

Justice Baqar said that exclusion of a judge from decision making in sensitive matters because of his independent and impartial views and approach certainly has adverse bearing on the impartiality and independence of the judiciary and may tarnish public perception about its integrity. Similarly, assigning sensitive cases to particular judges also impairs independence of judiciary, he said.

He said that it is absolutely imperative that individual judges are free from unwarranted interference in their decision making. He said that independence of the judiciary was not only rendered meaningless and redundant but becomes counter-productive without the judge being impartial. He said that it would be devastating if the tenure of office of a judge is in reality made dependent on the acceptability of his judgments by those wielding power and the prospects of further elevation of a judge are jeopardized by the reasons of his judgment not being well received by certain quarters. He said that it is absolutely inevitable for the judges to insulate against all inappropriate connections for maintaining its independence, impartiality and integrity.

The SC judge said that concept of independence of the judiciary is not limited only to independence from executive pressure or influence but it is a much wider concept which takes within its sweep, independence from many other pressures and prejudices. He said that independence of the judiciary has many other dimensions which is fearlessness of other power centers, economic or political and freedom from prejudices acquired and nourished by the class of which the judges belong.

Justice Baqar said that the judiciary stands between citizen and the state as a bulwark against executive excesses and misuse or abuse of power by the executive. He said that judiciary has a pivotal role in society and for upholding the social order. He said that it is absolutely essential that judiciary must be free from executive pressure or influence which has been secured by making elaborate provisions in the constitution adding that independent judiciary is most essential when liberty of citizen is in danger. The judges must also be insulated from the undue peer pressure and from unnecessary and unwarranted control of his institution. He said that there has been a quantitative and qualitative expansion of judicial power with the passage of time which has dramatically increased the political relevance of the judiciary.

The senior judge of the apex court said that judges particularly in our part of the world need to have a keen knowledge of the severe disparities and the volatility that underpins the ground realities of the society in which they are tasked to adjudicate. He said that judges cannot afford to be blind residents of the elite institutions and they should be sensitive to the struggle of common man and must be aware and attuned to the humans that they are applying the law to they must also be aware of the multiple layers of disadvantage, the multitude suffer. Justice Baqar said that a people oriented judicial system is also imperative for the stability and independence of the judiciary and for strengthening the democracy.