Thursday, October 29, 2009

Please All, And You Will Please None

Criticisms against the Judiciary never seem to stop.

A few years ago, when I was still a student, I remember reading the papers that court cases take too long to be settled. Courts would postpone cases without giving any concrete reasons. Hence the reason when the Big Boss took over about a year ago, the first mandate that he gave was to continue the previous CJ, Tun Abdul Hamid’s secular on no last minute postponements. Then lawyers complained requesting for some time before the strict compliance of the policy. The Big Boss said no and continued the no last minute postponements and took other steps to improve the efficiency of the Judiciary.

He would slip in the steps taken in the speeches that he made when Judges are appointed. He made it an open thing. But the media fell short from reporting it:

tak boleh jual lah cerita ini. Negative punye story baru boleh jual. Story kerajaan / kehakiman buat bagus siapa nak baca… cerita Hakim kena tangkap makan rasuah, kes rogol, kes bunuh, kes sumbang mahram, kes liwat barula ada commercial value… reduce backlog saper kisah…”

These are amongst the reasons what journalist would tell me when I ask them why there is nothing about the Judiciary when information has already been provided.

Instead, I heard that there are lawyers who are complaining that the court cases are moving too fast. That they don’t have time to attend to all of their matters and can’t attend all the early dates given by the court.

Funny eh?

A few years ago they complaint that cases take too long to settle. Now they complaint it’s too fast. But these are not the voices of the majority members of the Bar. The Bar Council and the respective State Bars welcomes the improvements of the Judiciary. It’s just a small percentage of the lawyers who are not too happy with the improvements.

So they complaint. Complaint to whom? Siapa lagi? Complaint to those who believes that they could sell negative stories about the Judiciary lah…

So the criticism continues.

I asked the Big Boss about this. Dengan sardinenya he told me this story while we were walking to catch our plane back to KL:

A man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: "You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?"

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: "See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along."

Well, the Man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of you and your hulking son?"

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

That will teach you," said an old man who had followed them:

"Please all, and you will please none”.

Blog adjourned.

2 obiter dictum:

Malicious Mind said...

very true

Abdullah AR said...

It is strange that you say lawyers are complaining about not being able to cope with short dates. This is because these days, the first return date is not hearing date but a date to find out whether affidavits has been exhausted and to fix the hearing on a day on which all parties are free. And the date given are not fast either. For example, on 6 Nov 2009, the first return date of my O.14 application in the civil division of the KLHC, I told the TP that the affidavits had been exhausted, no more affidavits. The TP gave us a date on 20 January 2009 for us to tender a 5 page skeletal submission to her. Isn't that ridicolous? 2 months juts to tender the submission and the hearing date will be determiend on 20 January 2009.

Another thing, I really think that there msut be some flexibility on the part of the TP on the management date. For example, I had filed a stay application with a certificate of urgency. The return date was 3 weeks after extraction. All affidavits had been exhausted by the return date and all senior counsel appeared. Our misfortune was by the return date, SAHC had just started with the tracking system. So the return date was not a hearing date, but hadbeen converted into a management date. We pleaded with the TP to send the file to the Judge since we were ready to proceed with the hearing. We had also seen the Judge's list. She didn't have much on that day. But arahan is arahan. We were given a hearing date in 3 weeks time. And in the meantime, we could only pray that the order will not be enforced / acted upon.

So is tracking system about speedy justice? I doubt.

What the lawyers are complaining is about the court bringing forward trial dates to a date they are not free and insist on it. In another case, I was told that a Judge insisted on proceeding with a trial for which lawyers were told by the TP had been vacated. In fact the TP gave another case management date way after the original trial dates. But the Judge insisted on proceeding with it only because it was in her diary. We suspected that she was worried about having to answer to the CJ on postponing it.