Tehran, Feb 26, IRNA -- `Iran News' on Wednesday deplored the fate and living standards of Iranian judges, calling for higher perks and additional benefits to help them lead more comfortable and decent lives.
It must be noted that "a judge is not just an administrative personnel who can be replaced by another appointee," pointed out the English-language daily in its editorial.
Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi is on record as having said recently that "judges in Iran's judicial system are underpaid and have inadequate access to needed facilities."
Iranian judges, the paper noted, are too far away compared to judges of other countries when it comes to the amenities of life.
It is, therefore, not surprising that many have expressed a desire to resign to engage in private practice rather than work in the government under too much pressure and with little comfort.
In most countries of the world, lawyers and doctors are often the cream of professions. Passing the bar is the gateway to political power (whether in government or in the judiciary) while medical practice is to financial power.
But in this country, "Any legal adviser to a ministry makes more money and has more perks than even a provincial prosecutor general," the daily wrote further quoting Shahroudi as saying.
Likewise, in most countries abroad, judges are assured a kingly pay because human beings are supposed to be easily corrupted if they are financially strangled.
"Even religious teachings and Islamic edicts insist judges should have adequate access to funds to enable them to lead a comfortable and decent life and to keep them far from corruption," pointed out the editorial.
Unfortunately, "social restrictions and lack of civil and individual freedom" far outweighs the financial difficulties of the judges in this country."
In contrast, attorneys and defense lawyers are faced with very little to no social and individual liberty limitations, it said.
No wonder, "judges are resigning their seats to become private attorneys."
What makes the job of being a judge all the more frustrating is the fact of political pressure to which they are heavily subjected to in the performance of their duties, the editorial noted.
To cite an example, it said "a magistrate in Iran has to take into account a wide variety of political and other factors and considerations before issuing a verdict on cases that are political in nature or involve financial corruption."
The pressure often becomes so unbearable and intolerable that the judge either succumbs (resulting in corruption) or becomes inefficient, it suggested.
Quranic instructions as well as other Islamic writings have it that judges be provided with salaries and additional benefits that would guarantee them a comfortable and decent way of life, it stressed.
Other factors such as judges' personal and social life, work conditions, health, etc. ought to be considered when the judiciary fixes their pay scale in the future, the editorial concluded.
... Payvand News - 2/26/03 ... --