Scarcity of senior judges puts LHC image at stake | Pakistan Today

Scarcity of senior judges puts LHC image at stake

LAHORE: The working and performance of the Lahore High Court (LHC) is suffering because of a shortage of senior judges; 87 percent of LHC judges are junior judges with little grasp over judicial matters, sources told Pakistan Today.
The court sources said the scarcity of senior judges at LHC was a big hurdle in clearing the ever-increasing backlog of the cases or doing full justice to the cases, and as a result public finds itself in dire straits. Court officials including lawyers said most of the junior judges cannot dictate judgments easily or speedily and they need time to get used to the working of the court or be able to deliver.
The LHC is the oldest court of Punjab with its history spread over 150 years and never witnessed such a situation. On papers there are 44 LHC judges working at all LHC benches including its principle seat in Lahore, Rawalpindi bench, Multan bench and Bahawalpur bench.
Surprisingly there are only six judges who are senior while 34 judges are newly appointed inducted in 2009 and 2010; twenty two judges were appointed on February 19, 2010 while 12 were appointed on September 15 2009, a phenomena court officials said, never occurred in past.
Constitutional petitions and complicated cases, related with the federal and provincial governments and public at large, are being heard by six senior judges including LHC Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif, said LHC sources.
The image of top provincial court is at stake, with junior judges referring the tricky and important cases to chief justice who is retiring on Dec 8, 2010. The competition between the judges for the coveted slot seems quite high, sometimes affecting their performance also.
Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhary and Azmat Saeed are the front runners if the senior PCO judges do not get clean chit from Supreme Court before December 8 when Khwaja Sharif retires.

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