Tuesday September 06, 2016







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How to Establish a Truly Independent Supreme Court


Imposing term limit on Supreme Court judges, including CJ, is contrary to the idea of independence of judiciary.  Unfortunately, newly elected coalition government wants to impose such limits on CJ in the name of independence of judiciary. How judiciary will be independent if Chief Justice will know he is only there for 3 years; and other judges will be looking after their seniority issues to become Chief Justice instead of parting justice?


Government’s argument that all heads of various departments or branches of government have term limit why not Chief Justice is a fallacious and extremely erroneous. Being a Chief Justice is not like being a Commander in Chief of the armed forces or being a Federal Secretary. Being a Judge of Supreme Court is very special job. Anyone who becomes a Judge at the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice, should be free from all sorts of fears.


Supreme Court judges are the top most authority in any country to watch the interests and rights of the citizens of the country. They have to protect these interests and rights of the people from administrations which have the inherent fascistic tendencies. Particularly, in a country like Pakistan where rulers have behaved most inhumanly for the last 60 years, the presence of independent and powerful Supreme Court is of utmost importance.


This independence and power will only be guaranteed if Supreme Court judges are appointed for life time and they do not have the fear of any backlash while deciding cases between state and its citizens.


Supreme Court judges, including CJ, will only enjoy this independence and power if the life time terms of their employments are guaranteed in the constitution of Pakistan. How and when their employment will end should be the sole discretion of the judge sitting on the Supreme Court.


Wherever in the world there are independent judiciaries, the same principle is applied on Supreme Court judges’ employment. Once they become Supreme Court judge, they remain judge until they cannot perform their duties due to aging or illness.


Supreme Court judges in the United States also hold their positions for life. They perform their duties till they think their age or illness is hindering their performance as judge; then, they retire.


If the functionaries of the past and present set-ups of Musharraf junta want to make Pakistan a better country, they should not be afraid of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. He is an ideal judge. That is how a Supreme Court judge should be—a judge who tried to protect peoples’ rights from a totally gone berserk administration.


Therefore, if the present Musharraf junta set-up is trying to bring a constitutional package to set term limit on CJ’s position, instead of putting term limit on CJ’s position, they should guarantee all Supreme Court judges, including CJ, life time protection of their positions.


After Supreme Court judges get such constitutional assurances and guarantees, only then an independent Supreme Court will come into existence. Only then, no adventurer will dare to illegally take over the country and ask judges to take oath under any PCO.



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