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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Aqil_Sajjad
Full Name: Aqil Sajjad
User since: 25/Oct/2008
No Of voices: 9
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Appointment of judges
(Dawn, letters page, Dec 16)
 
KUNWAR Idris in his article, "˜Chief justices past and present' ((Dec 7), has written that in most of the countries the appointment of judges is in the hand
of chief executives. This may be true in the case of undemocratic countries where the executive (prime minister or president) is vested with such powers.
 
No democratic polity tolerates such a system. For example, in England the executive has virtually no role in the appointments of judges. It is the independent
(non-departmental) Judicial Appointments Commission, composed of 15 highly qualified members, which after receiving applications from eligible candidates
selects the judges.
 
The commission sends its recommendations to the Lord Chancellor for formal appointments of the judges. But the government cannot refuse the recommendations
of the commission. If it objects to any recommendation, it has to give reasons for it. The government cannot appoint any other person as an alternative.
This ensures neutrality in the appointment of judges which in turn ensures independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.
 
As regards the appointment of members of the Judicial Appointments Commission, nobody who is or has been a political activist can be appointed a member.
The 15 commissioners are drawn from the judiciary, the legal profession, tribunals and the lay public such as seasoned journalists, professors and others.
 
For example, the chairman of the commission since 2005 is Baroness Usha Prashar, who was awarded CBE in 1994. She is the first Civil Service commissioner.
She has been director of the National Council for Voluntary Organisation and member of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and
Conduct.
 
In short, great care is taken to ensure that appointment of judges is not tainted by political consideration. If we had a similar system of appointing judges
in Pakistan, we, too, could achieve the goals of independent judiciary and the rule of law in the country so vital for socio-economic progress.
 
S. FEROZ SHAH GILANI
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