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There Is No Room For Selective Accountability In SJC: Justice Jawwad S Khawaja

ISLAMABAD, June 14: In a letter to Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) five months ago, the former Chief Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja urged it to “be very careful that it is not seen as a biased forum for pursuing selective accountability”. The former Chief Justice was particular about the neutrality of the esteemed forum.

As per TLTP (The Law Today Pakistan), the retired top judge Jawwad S.Khawaja sent a letter to the SJC on January 10, 2019, and raised the issue of ‘selective accountability’

This came in as a development to references against two justices including Qazi Faez Essa. The supreme judicial council is expected to meet on June 14 in matters pertaining to the reference.

Former Chief Justice Jawwad S.Khawaja said in his letter,

“Having retired as the head of the judiciary it is a matter of deep institutional concern to me that there is a perception of unevenness and partiality in the application of the Code of Conduct.”

 “The accountability of judges of our constitutional courts is a sensitive matter for obvious reasons. These judges, in order to ensure the independence of the judiciary, should not be exposed to any ill-motivated or false allegations or to partiality or semblance of partiality in the process of their accountability”, according to TPLT.

He stated,

“I teach a course on constitutional governance in Pakistan at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). One fundamental element of governance is the independence of the judiciary and the process of its accountability”.

Justice Khwaja quoted an incident that two years ago a member of the Pakistan Bar Council applied to get information and statistics as to the number of references filed, pending or disposed of by the SJC. He added that the applicant request was denied depite a claim although he had claimed a fundamental right to information under Article 19-A of the Constitution.

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“The failure to disclose information despite such fundamental right can and does give rise to misgivings as to the fairness and impartiality of the accountability process of the SJC”, said former top judge.

In another point, he said, “If some judges are pursued allegations of misconduct while most judges are not so pursued, the very concept of accountability of judges is negated”. The former chief justice was adamant regarding selective accountability and how it can not be tolerated.

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