Published On: Mon, Dec 2nd, 2019
Published in Category: Lahore

We are part of justice provision system & for this we have to follow the procedure: CJP

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LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa has said that we are part of the justice provision system and for this we have to follow the procedure but the final result is that the verdict should be just, fair and right and this is our duty and we have taken training of this. He said that the judges daily deliver judgments and in first five minutes they come to know that what is right and what is wrong and even the people who are not judges they also come to know what is right and what is wrong. He said that many people used to sit in courtroom but only judge is entitled to deliver the judgment but if the judge did not deliver judgment then there is no difference between the judge and other people. Chief Justice of Pakistan also hinted at the inclusion of one or two women judges in the Supreme Court in the near future.

Addressing the concluding session of 3rd Women Judges Conference in Lahore, the CJP Asif Saeed Khan Khosa praised the performance of women judges deputed at district and high courts. “Our women judges have proven their abilities through their verdicts and by the way they have handled complex cases,” said Justice Khosa.

“We have as many as 300 women judges in district courts and we have women judges in high court and we hope to soon have at least one or two in the Supreme Court. I had the opportunity to propose two names and they are being actively considered.”

The CJP spoke about how the working environment affected women judges in Pakistan as he urged them to remain confident in their abilities and relaxed in their demeanour. He said some of them were passing higher punishments like death sentence so that the people say she is a very strict judge and did not spare anyone.

“Women judges have to take certain steps to survive in the male-dominated environment,” said Justice Khosa, “But all judgments should be passed according to the law. Be firm but also be fair.”

The CJP said Pakistan’s courts have been working for the protection of women’s rights for the past 50 years, adding that for the country’s prosperity it was essential to ensure that women are empowered in all walks of life. He said the constitution ensures equal rights and treatment of all citizens including minority groups.

Justice Khosa also spoke on the need for coordination among the bar and the bench. “These are two wheels of the judiciary and effective coordination between them is essential for the delivery of justice to the masses.”

He stressed that it is the judiciary’s responsibility to provide justice to people as they had placed their faith in the courts. He said that it was absolutely vital to enforce the law and maintain order for the development of Pakistan.

CJP Khosa said that because female judges work in an environment dominated by men, they are expected to be very compassionate, kind and considerate “like mothers”. “But we have noticed that when they become judges, somehow because the whole atmosphere is male-dominated […] a ‘she judge’ also likes to behave like a ‘he judge’ so that she is taken seriously. “This is one thing that we have noticed, that she does not even smile in the courtroom lest anyone else may get some impression,” the chief justice said, noting this was a problem that male judges did not experience.

“Male judges don’t have that problem. They would cut jokes with the lawyers, they would relax the atmosphere and they would be comfortable with everybody else appearing in the court.

“But the female judge somehow has to change her personality. She has to become an iron lady so that nobody messes with her. “So this is something that I wanted to discuss with you that just relax. Don’t become ‘he’ judges,” he added. The country’s top judge said that female judges are “she judges” because they are better at many things.

“You are compassionate, you are kind, you are considerate and when litigants will see you in court, they will feel that they can be in safe hands, very kind hands. “The atmosphere has to be very relaxed in a courtroom so that the litigant feels comfortable and the lawyers also can come up with whatever they want to say in support of their clients […] I’ve seen women judges that have a very stern look so please relax, people will respect you, people will be very considerate towards you.

“Just because you are women judges, you don’t have to impose yourself upon everybody and try to put on a show and to represent yourself as something which you’re not,” he remarked. “Be women in the courtroom as well, be relaxed and be yourself. Don’t put on a show.”

CJP Khosa noted that there have been multiple instances when people have submitted applications to shift their cases from women’s courts. “They are just not comfortable, they can’t see a lady sitting there as a judge,” he said, attributing it to “social taboos” but observing that people are getting more comfortable with the idea.

“Once they deal with you […] I’m sure this distinction between women judges and men judges will disappear,” he said.

Additionally, the chief justice said that he had an objection with the title of the conference ‘Women Judges Conference’ and added that some other phrase should be coined for it and the distinction shouldn’t be based on gender.

“This is a contradiction in terms. We’ve been told that we have to change the vocabulary […] you haven’t, please walk the talk. Act on what you tell us.”

CJP Khosa also told the female judges that they too need to “shed this image” of themselves as female judges.

“Just behave like judges, normal judges, and dispense justice according to law and then people themselves will stop noticing whether they are appearing before a woman or male judge.

“But at the same time, you have to be firm in the court. Don’t allow anybody to browbeat you, don’t allow anybody to undermine your authority,” he said, adding: “Be courteous but be firm.”

“Now you’ll say I’m contradicting myself, I’m not. I’m not saying that just change yourself and relax but at the same time, firmness is something different.”

Earlier, during his address, the top judge noted that the female gender was becoming a part of normal life. “It was confined to four walls for many centuries. It is coming out of it. This gender is becoming a regular part of almost every walk of life and we are very fortunate that even in this third world country of ours, we are making [an] effort and we are taking strides in that direction.”

He said that previously, female judges in the district judiciary were unheard of but now there were nearly 300 female judges in the district judiciary.

“The Holy Quran also time and again stresses the need to ensure justice for all. Almighty Allah loves those who are just.” “The Almighty Allah loves whosoever does justice, so always be fair in the court […] those dispensing justice shouldn’t be afraid of anything,” he stated.

“Women are needed to be empowered in every field.” “I hope to get invited [in the event] as a retired judge,” he concluded.

Earlier, Chief Justice Lahore High Court Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan, addressing the conference, said judiciary plays an important role in structuring and restructuring the society.

He said that gender-based violence courts are being established in Punjab to protect rights of women and children.