Level of bribe paying is high in Pakistan, which is suffering from systemic judicial corruption; the Judicial branch of the state is not independent at all.
It is , however, of supreme importance that the Judicial system of a state is independent. But independence from whom and what? Independence of judiciary means that individual judges and the judiciary as a whole are impartial and independent of all external pressures and of each other so that those who appear before them and the wider public can have confidence that their cases will be decided fairly and in accordance with the law. When carrying out their judicial function they must be free of any improper influence. Such influence could come from any number of sources. It could arise from improper pressure by the executive or the legislature, by individual litigants, particular pressure groups, the media, self-interest or other judges, in particular more senior judges.
It is vital that each judge is able to decide cases solely on the evidence presented in court by the parties and in accordance with the law. Only relevant facts and law should form the basis of a judge’s decision. Only in this way can judges discharge their constitutional responsibility to provide fair and impartial justice.
The circle of responsibilities of judges in disputes between the citizen and the state have widened together with the growth in governmental functions over the last century. The responsibility of the judiciary to protect citizens against unlawful acts of government has thus increased, and with it the need for the judiciary to be independent of government. A recent example of the failure of the Judicial Commission to provide a fair verdict after careful consideration displays a highly deplorable state of affairs. It clearly shows us that this vital branch of the state has been hijacked by our corrupt politicians like Nawaz Shareef.
It is extremely important that judges are seen to be both independent and impartial. Justice must not only be done – it must be seen to be done.
Judicial independence does, however, mean that judges must be free to exercise their judicial powers without interference from litigants, the State, the media or powerful individuals or entities, such as large companies. This is an important principle because judges often decide matters between the citizen and the state and between citizens and powerful entities. Judges need to make decisions free from interference from the state. If they are motivated to ingratiate themselves with an authority with influence over their or top up their earnings with money from one of the parties to case, the Judicial process is likely to get corrupted like the present judicial process of Pakistan.
Dr Ali Ahmad
EMAIL :[email protected]
26 July 2015