Code of Conduct to Be Observed By Judicial Officers Issued By Islamabad High Court 2012

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CODE OF CONDUCT TO BE OBSERVED BY JUDICIAL

OFFICERS ISSUED BY ISLAMABAD HIGH COURT

[Gazette of Pakistan , Extraordinary, Part III,

20th April, 2012]

No.Genl/IHC/2012/5278, dated 16-1-2012.---In addition to the all relevant Laws, Rules, Regulations, and the instructions issued by this Court from time to time, Islamabad High Court, Islamabad prescribed the following Code of Conduct to be observed by the Judicial Officers working under the control and superintendence within its jurisdiction.

CODE OF CONDUCT

"Justice is not only a sacred trust bestowed upon certain individuals in a society to resolve disputes between the people but, is a divine virtue, creating theological foundations of every religion in the world. Societies and States from time immemorial have devised different systems of administration of justice but, by and large every system of administration of justice experienced by the humanity in its historical dis-course, created certain code of conduct for its judges and decision makers. Our Islamic, Oriental and Anglo-Saxon heritage of legal jurisprudence presents a unique blend of performance standards for judges and judicial officers. Having its geneses in the said heritage, Islamabad High Court, Islamabad is pleased to prescribed the following code of conduct for the members of its subordinate judiciary.

(a) ACCOUNTABILITY

Justice is a sacred trust, and a judicial officer should exercise his judicial powers with honesty, responsibility and commitment, He must always be mindful of the fact that he is not merely accountable to his superiors but also accountable to Allah almighty.

(b) INDEPENDENCE

While discharging his duties, he should always hold a position of independence and should neither be impressed by love for his kith and kin nor he should be influenced by the authority of his superiors.

(c) CONSCIENCE

While deciding a case, a judicial officer should only be guided by his own conscience and judicial considerations and should not be influenced by any fear or bias. He should discharge his duties without fear and favour to any party before him or their lawyers, both in his judgment and conduct.

(d) SELF RESTRAINT

He should not hear the cases in which his near relative or close friends have got any interest. He should not privately advise any of the party, so that it becomes a favour to the prejudice of the other party. He must avoid discussing particular cases before them save allowed by law or when it is intended to give advise or counselling by a higher forum to a lower forum. He must avoid hearing cases, receiving guests or his colleagues in his retiring room, besides avoiding frequent use thereof, except in urgent need. To ensure that justice, is not only done but, is also seen to be done, a judge must avoid all possibility of his opinion or action in any case being swayed by any consideration of personal advantage either director or indirect. To keep himself above reproach, his conduct in his official and private capacity should be free from impropriety.

(e) BEHAVIOUR

A judicial officer should be God fearing, law abiding, abstemious, truthful of tongue, wise in opinion, cautious and forbearing, patient and calm, blameless, untouched by greed, completely detached and balanced, faithful to his words and meticulous in his functions. His behaviour should be gentlemanly, particularly towards the litigants and lawyers. He should be courteous and polite but firm and dignified to maintain decorum of the court. While dealing with others, a judicial officer should always imagine himself in juxtaposition.

(f) PUBLIC GATHERINGS

He should avoid to mix-up with general public and members of the bar. He should also avoid to attend private Parties and functions at public places including hotels, markets and streets except in dire need.

(g) IMPARTIALITY

A judge should give equal treatment to the parties, who bring their disputes to him for decisions. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) of Islam is reported to have said that if one of you is appointed as judge, let him give equal treatment to the parties with respect to their sitting arrangement, in respect of 'giving attention to them or in respect of even looking towards them. Thus, the judge must not show any sign or gesture towards any party appearing in his court, which gives suspicion that he is favourably inclined to that party. Caliph Hazrat Umar (RA) once snubbed a judge before whom he appeared in a case, as the judge tried to show the Caliph respect by standing up in his honour. A judge is therefore obliged, to be completely impartial.

(h) INTEGRITY

A judge must be very honest and he should not be tempted by bribery or other offers. The Quran prohibits giving bribe to judges when it says, "And eat not up your property among yourselves in vanity, nor seek by it to gain the hearing of the judges that ye may knowingly devour a portion of a property of others wrongfully" The Prophet (P.B.U.H) is also reported to have cursed the bribe takers and the bribe givers. According to another tradition the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) said that one who gives bribe and one who lakes bribe are both in Hell.

A judge must not accept presents or gifts as the acceptance of gifts by a public functionary, according to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.), is ghulul (misappropriation). However, some jurists are of the opinion that a judge can accept presents from his close relations, and also from his friends; who used to give him presents before his appointment as judge. But the best course is that he must avoid gifts as they are a way of bribery. A judge should not indulge in any trade or business and must avoid going to the market for a purchase or sale. A judge should also avoid transactions like lending or borrowing as it effects his office and position.

(h) ATTIRE OF A JUDGE

According to Muslim jurists, a judge must come in his best and the most dignified attire, A judge is enjoying a respectable and dignified position in the Islamic society, thus, his appearance must also be dignified accordingly. It is desirable for a judge to wear prescribed proper and respectful dress, as the absence of it will lower his status and position before litigants.

(i) PATIENCE

A judge must be patient and cool headed person because, if he is impatient and short tempered, he may pronounce a wrong judgment out of an excitement or anger and in such a case, he is likely to do either injustice to one party or undue favour to another. Hazrat Ali (A.S.) in his letter to Maalik-bin-Ashtar gave following instructions regarding the conduct of judges while they hold their courts. This esteem letter provides the golden principles for a judge to conduct his court and deliver his decisions.

(I) "Abundance of litigations and complexity of cases should not make them lose their temper.

(II) When they realize that they have committed a mistake in judgment they should nor insist it by trying to justify it.

(III) When truth is made clear to them or when right path opens up before them, they should not consider it below their dignity to correct the mistake made or to undo the wrong done by them.

(IV) They should not be corrupt, covetous or greedy

(V) They should not be satisfied with ordinary enquiry or scrutiny of a case, but should scrupulously go through all the pros and cons, they must examine every aspect of the problem carefully, and whenever and wherever they find doubtful and ambiguous points, they must stop to go through further details, clear the points and only then proceed with their decision,

(V) They must attach greatest importance to reasoning, arguments and proof.

(VII) They should not get tired of lengthy discussions and arguments.

(VIII) They must exhibit patience and perseverance in scanning the details, in testing the points presented as true, in sifting facts from fiction and when truth is revealed to them, they must pass their judgments without fear, favour or prejudice,

(IX) They should not develop vanity and conceit when compliments and praises are showered upon them.

(X) They should not be misled by flattery and cajolery."

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