This is an essay on “Judicial Reforms” for CSS, PMS, and All Judiciary examinations. Judicial Reforms are inevitable for providing justice. Here is a complete essay on “Judicial Reforms” for CSS, PMS, and All Judiciary Examinations.
Essay on “Judicial Reforms”
Judicial independence is the doctrine that decisions of the judiciary should be impartial and not subject to influence from the other branches of government or from private or political interests. In most cases, judicial independence is secured by giving judges long, and sometimes lifetime, tenure and making them not easily removable.
In the United Kingdom, this aspect of the separation of powers is less clear-cut than in the US. The key factors that help to ensure judicial independence in the British system are:
In order to try and promote the independence of the judiciary, the selection process is designed to minimize political interference. The process focuses on senior members of the judiciary rather than on politicians.
Pay and Rewards
The pay of judges is determined by an independent pay review body. It will make recommendations to the government having taken evidence from a. variety of sources. The government accepts these recommendc:1tions and will traditionally implement them fully.
The legal profession is a self-regulating profession i.e., it is responsible for its own professional standards and for dealing with those who fall short. In this case, the bodies are the Bar Council and the Law Society.
Security of Tenure
As long as judges hold their positions in “good order”, they remain in post until they wish to retire or until they reach 70.
There are two important conventions that help to preserve judicial independence.
- Parliament does not comment on the cases which are before the court
- Under a principle known as “Parliamentary Privilege”, Members of Parliament are protected from prosecution in certain circumstances by the court.
One of the major drawbacks of this collection is its inconsistent quality. Referencing and citation in the volume are often inadequate, reducing the usability of the collection. Further, while some contributions to the collection are well researched, others dawdle endlessly.
The current judicial system needs to be cleared of procedural complexities and hurdles to make it accessible for the common citizens. It must be strengthened to deliver justice quickly, efficiently, and honestly.
It is necessary to consolidate the laws governing the same areas and situations to avoid dismay to the citizen who fails to recognize the scores of requirements he has to fulfill under an equal number of laws.
It is equally necessary to abandon the present clumsy drafting style and to adopt a style that is clear, lucid, and unambiguous. The complex and compound phraseology must be abandoned. The whereas and notwithstanding and as the case may be the syndrome of conjunctions should give way to simple phrases, small sentences, and intelligible expression.
Our constitutional framework envisages an independent judicial system, insulated from partisan political influences. However with the general degeneration in society, on occasions, people find the judgments are given for reasons extraneous to the cause. It is always said. that a judge has jurisdiction to decide a case in a manner that is shown to be wrong in appeal. However, when such a wrong decision is given consciously for extraneous reasons and the judge gets away with it, the insulation of the judiciary hurts.
The supreme court in a series of decisions has done everything to ensure the independence even of the subordinate judiciary. Steps from within the system are necessary to ensure accountability.
There is no one factor that solely responsible for these arrears of cases. For the reformation in the present practicing judicial system, there is a number of elements that must be considered.
In Pakistan, the judiciary is a separate and independent system. Legislature and executive are not allowed by the Constitution to interfere in the functioning of the judiciary.
The courts on the other hand check the acts of these two bodies. The functioning of the judiciary is independent but it doesn’t mean that it is not accountable to anyone. In a democracy, the power lies with the people. The judiciary must concern with this fact during their functioning. Considering the judicial system independent and unaccountable by the courts, generally, it gives leisure and comfort to the judges that ultimately lead to delay in deciding the matters.
The development of any country is measured by the economic and judicial system, governmental setup, and living standard of people which includes fair and speedy justice.
Due to delays in deciding the cases, the whole democratic and economic structure of a country is affected.
On the three occasions since independence when military coups have ended democratic rule in Pakistan, the judiciary not only failed to check extra-constitutional regime change but also endorsed and abetted the consolidation of illegally gained power.
The Musharraf government has deepened the judiciary’s subservient position among national institutions, ensured that politics trumps the rule of law, and weakened the foundations for a democratic legislative framework for removals of judges, as well rule. Substantial changes in the appointments, promotions, and jurisdiction of the ordinary courts, are needed to restore confidence in the judiciary.
But judicial independence from political influence and financial corruption cannot be restored by mere technical, legislative corrections. Reform depends upon a credible commitment by the
government to respect the rule of law as much as upon legislated change.
Pakistan’s judicial system stems directly from the system that was used in British India. The Supreme Court has original appellate and advisory jurisdictions. The president of Pakistan appoints the justices. Each province has a high court, the judges of which are also named by the president. Below the high courts are district and session courts, and below these are subordinate courts and village courts on the civil side and magistrates on the criminal side. There are no jury trials in Pakistan.
The British tradition of an independent jud1c1ary has been undermined in Pakistan by developments over the last 50 years. In May 1991, for example, the National Assembly adopted legislation that incorporated the Islamic legal code, the Shari’ah into Pakistan’s legal system. A Federal Shari’ah Court has the power to nullify any law it finds repugnant to Islam.
Courts in Pakistan are also subject to pressure from the executive branch, in part because of presidential power over the transfer and tenure of high court justices and lower court judges. Judges in the special courts are retired jurists hired on renewable contracts so that their decisions may be influenced by a desire for contract renewal. Nonetheless, the provincial high courts and the supreme court have exercised some degree of independence in handing down a number of cases against the government:
- Establish, by proposing and urging adoption of a constitutional amendment, a transparent system of judicial appointments to the High Courts that expands accountability for such appointments beyond the executive and Chief Justices to include parliamentarians and bar councils and associations; prior to the adoption of such an amendment involve the bar and parliamentarians in public discussions of candidates for posts on the High Courts.
- End deviations from the seniority rule in the promotion of High Court judges to the posts of Chief Justice. establish by statute a seniority rule for promotions from the High Courts to the Supreme Court, and when filling vacancies on the High Courts and Supreme Court, promote female judges who are qualified candidates under the seniority rule.
- End the practices of not confirming additional judges and of awarding government positions to retired judges; establish public audits of all members of the superior judiciary and close family members to ensure that only statutory benefits are awarded and corruption is avoided.
- End the practice of selectively offering new oaths to judges, and renounce publicly the use of the judicial oath as a mechanism for purging the judiciary.
- Institute new internal administrative mechanisms for the prevention of corruption and the removal of corrupt High Court judges, with oversight from a judicial commission that includes members of the bars and parliamentarians, and ensure that women and minorities are adequately represented in these mechanisms.
- 6. Institute administrative reforms that curtail Chief Justices’ power over the assignment of cases and of judges, and establish professional, managerial divisions within the courts to fulfill this task.
- Absorb the anti-terrorism and accountability courts into the ordinary judiciary, jettisoning procedural variations in bail, plea-bargaining, and the physical circumstances of trials that presently characterize those proceedings.
- Institute courts within Pakistan’s ordinary judicial hierarchy, with review in the Peshawar High Court and the Supreme Court, for the FATA and conform courts jurisdictions, judges’ tenure, and judges’ privileges in the judiciary of the Northern Areas, including the new Court of Appeals, to practices in the ordinary courts.
- Endeavor to ensure that judicial decisions at all levels respect international human rights, including the rights of women, and make efforts to eliminate traditionally and religious practices imposed by tribal and village councils that are harmful to women.
- Treat the independence of the judiciary, in particular the manipulation of appointments, promotions, and removals in the superior judiciary, as a measure of democratic development in Pakistan.
- Call upon the government of Pakistan to cease manipulation of the appointment and promotion of judges, and to commit to ending the practice of purging the bench through new oaths.
- As a policy condition for further tranches of the structural adjustment loan under the Access to Justice Program insists on reform of the appointments and promotions system for the superior judiciary and strict adherence to the seniority rule for promotions.
- Introduce measures to identify and remove from the superior and subordinate courts those judges engaged in financial corruption.
- Promote meaningful in-service judicial training on gender sensitization and the treatment in a court of religious minorities, in particular Ahmadis and Christians, and press the government to implement reserved seats for women in key subordinate and superior judiciary positions.