ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar conceded that being head of an institution he had failed to put his house in order.
“I admit openly that I have been unable to put the house in order,” the chief justice acknowledged while heading a four-judge bench that had taken up a petition seeking fresh rules for lower courts to decide suits, petitions and appeals within a stipulated time limit.
The petition was jointly moved by Umeer Ijaz Gilani, Attaullah Hakeem Kundi, Muhammad Haider Imtiaz, Raheel Ahmed and Hadiya Aziz, all legal practitioners.
During the hearing, the chief justice referred to a recent incident that happened during his inspection visit to Larkana district courts as a result of which Additional District and Sessions Judge Gul Zamir Solangi tendered his resignation letter.
The chief justice explained that the district judge had decided only two bail applications during the entire day and the orders were drafted by the reader.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court was told that the federal government had submitted its reply in which it conceded that the data received so far suggested that 38,205 cases, including petitions, appeals and revisions, were pending before different courts in the four provinces against the Centre. Once complete information was received, the same would be provided to the court, the federal government said.
The CJP hinted that he might constitute a larger bench to hear the matter.
Meanwhile, the Karachi Bar Association (KBA) has expressed its dismay over the resignation tendered by Judge Gul Zamir Solangi.
CJP Saqib Nisar had expressed his anger at Mr Solangi and flung his mobile phone to the desk during his visit to the district courts last Saturday, asking him to leave his phone in his chamber. The chief justice was apparently irked upon getting an unsatisfactory reply from the judicial officer after observing the proceedings in his courtroom.
A ‘resignation letter’ purportedly written by Mr Solangi circulated on the social media, but a media coordinator for the Sindh High Court in Karachi clarified that it was ‘fake’.
The KBA passed a resolution, signed by its president Haider Imam Rizvi and general secretary Ashfaq Ali Gilal, stating that the KBA had always struggled for the improvement in dispensation of justice and to protect the independence of the judiciary in the country both from external and internal threats.
“Whereas the KBA is dismayed at the resignation tendered by a well-reputed Additional District Judge of Sindh, Gul Zamir Solangi, reportedly on account of his public humiliation at the hands of the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan,” stated the resolution.
In the resolution, the president and general secretary said that while they applauded the CJP’s decision to start inspecting lower courts, which were in direct need of improvement, they considered that sporadic humiliation of the judicial officers live on television might improve the media ratings, and not judicial performance.
“Sustained improvement in the performance of district courts is only possible through dedicated attention to the structural, procedural and human resource management issues that plague our lower judiciary,” they said.
They were of the opinion that the court inspections should be conducted by quietly entering the court unannounced, noting the proceedings and, in case any wrongdoing was observed, directing the competent authority to take appropriate disciplinary action.
They called upon the CJP to urgently convene a full court meeting of the apex court to discuss concrete steps to redress the adverse repercussions of the aforesaid acts and to ensure that all judges were enabled to decide cases independently and restore public confidence in the judiciary as a whole.