The judicial system is considered the most integral part of any state, with the primary function of safeguarding the interests of its inhabitants, where everyone is considered equal in front of the law. In the West, it is a dream for every citizen to associate with the profession of law and justice, as they want to help out downtrodden inhabitants. According to the ranking of the World Economic Forum, the profession of law and justice system stands in the second position in the world, but now it’s time to land in Pakistan. This perception is substantiated with phrases like “Those students who pursue a law degree don’t have the capacity to do anything in their life.” It is common slang in the elite class that “When we are able to purchase the judge, so why can’t we hire the attorney?” and “The grandson hears the verdict of the lawsuit filed by the grandfather.” All these phrases reflect that this system has become so ruined that even people have accepted it.
Let’s begin with the root cause of this rotten system, which is the legal education system. The education we give our law graduates depends on cramming, scoring a number of mentioned facts without engaging with them. Legal education faces a number of problems and is in dire need of revamping. Undergraduates are not exposed to a basic state-of-the-art curriculum along with adequate teaching methods. If law students have a basic understanding of the law and updated themselves with new laws, this could improve the overall justice and administrative system. However, if law students only focus on memorizing specific topics, they will not be able to practice the law because their critical thinking will not develop. When these students enter law schools, it is the failure of our law academics that we teach them an outdated curriculum with inadequate teaching methods while passing the law. When they enter the profession, they don’t have enough skill set to become a good practitioner, and later when these lawyers become a judge, their limited learning affects decision-making. Every law school should make it obligatory to develop the critical thinking of every student instead of memorizing specific topics. Such students don’t have the ability to set or make new legal principles.
After spending millions of rupees, law graduates attain all these shortcomings from the school. Law graduates taking the first step into the profession without any family source, no senior counsel is ready to hold his hand nor promise to teach him work. If someone took pity on him and held his hand, he would definitely be a candidate for any election. The initial time should be utilized to develop professional competence, but it is wasted in soliciting votes. Many eminent leaders of the bar have proposed that young lawyers shall cast their vote in the bar elections after 5 years of practice. But when the fake degree holders sit in the most influential posts, this proposal will not follow.
After manipulating all the circumstances, the bar leaders are able to sit in highly influential posts, such as members of bar councils and bar associations. Thereafter, they start lobbying to become a part of the superior judiciary. Many of them have been able to achieve this goal through their lobbyist, and since then, the fall begins. How is it possible that the judge becomes unbiased with those who belong to his/her groups? History has recorded that companions of the judges have become billionaires for taking money from the parties in their name. A renowned lawyer, Hamid Khan, wrote a book “History of Judiciary in Pakistan”. In 2016, he exposed the atrocious story of the judiciary. According to him, in 2008, a Chief Justice of Lahore High court passed the verdict in favor of those from whom his nephew had taken bribes.
The renowned senior lawyer gives this recommendation that there is only one solution to prevent this curse, and the solution is that just as every cadet in the army system is first recruited as a lieutenant, after that, he becomes the chief of the army staff by progressing on his merits, in the same way, in the judicial system, every person should be recruited as a civil judge, and by the power of their decisions, they become the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
It is a famous proverb that the bar and bench are the two wheels of a chariot. The bar and bench are considered the two main pillars on which the justice system stands. Just as the bench does not play a commendable role, the bar association also plays a similar role in seeing them. It is habitual practice in the bar association to call strikes over political or any other petty issues. The clients suffer from this a lot, and they want it to come to an end. Society has better expectations from lawyers than boycotts. Even the bar council professional ethics state that it is the duty of advocates to appear in court when a matter is called and, if possible, to make satisfactory alternative arrangements. Whenever any individual issue is created both from the bar and bench, the first thing that happens is that the bar unites to support its members, regardless of the merits of the matter.
One of the major reasons that bar councils have not been able to take adequate measures to enforce professional ethics is that they are afraid to make hard decisions, fearing losing voters and supporters. The recent incident of lawyers occurred three months ago when a sitting member of the Punjab Bar council, Rana Asif, faced the court of contempt to change gown in the courtroom of Puisne chief justice of Malik Shehzad. When lawyers learn that their colleagues have faced contempt, they call for a strike, and the largest province of Pakistan discontinues its judicial proceedings for almost a month. It’s not the concern of laymen who is right or who is wrong in this matter. Therefore, strikes portray the lawyer’s image as unprofessional in front of the public at large because it is the obligatory duty of every counsel to provide relief to their clients at the earliest possible stages.
Concisely, we can say that the judicial system determines the prestige and recognition of any state as a developing country in dire need of economic stability, which can only be assured by the independence of the judiciary and rule of law. The procedures for appointment, transfer, and promotion and constituting of benches should be more inclusive and objective.