SELECTED JUDGEMENTS OF IMAM ALI (AlahisSalam)

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Instructions to Judges

1. Oath and Evidence
The plaintiff should be first put on oath and should accept personal
responsibility of the proof. This brings the case fully to light and makes the
judgments easy.
2. Presentation of Evidence
Anyone who desires to present evidence in a case before you should be
given opportunity and allowed sufficient time for presenting the witnesses
in due course of time. If he fails to do it during the time scheduled, you are
free to deal with the case according to your own power of judgement.
However, the benefit of doubt and full facilities of defence should be
allowed to the accused.
3. Conditions of Witnesses
May it be known to you that all the Muslims are supposed to be just.
Therefore, they should be accepted as witnesses except those who are
already convicted in a previous case and have not offered penitence or are
accused of mischief-making and plunderism.
4. Anxiety when in the Court of Law
You should not feel pressure of anxiety under any circumstances in
delivering just judgements according to your power of decision-making.
Your judgements should, in all cases be the righteous one, which is a must
in view of your high office and for which there is a good reward from Allah.
5. How to go to the Court of Law
You should not go to your Court when you are hungry. You must first
satisfy your hunger and then take up the hearing of cases brought to your
Court therefore.
6. Undue Haste in Decisions
Judges should not make haste in delivering the judgement in any case.
When a case is taken up for judgement, it should never be left incomplete
and should not, be delayed as according to a general saying “Justice delayed
is justice denied.” If there is a delay in some case, it should not be insisted
upon and in case it is quite evident, no weakness should be shown in
delivering the judgement according to the provision of law. Everything
should be decided according to the schedule and should be kept in its proper
place.
7. Judgement without emotions
You should keep control over your anger, fury and your tongue. No case
should in any condition be decided under the influence of fury or anger.
When you feel no iota of anger or strong emotion in your heart of hearts,
you are free to decide the case according to the provision of law. This only
is possible when you are sure of your return to Allah.
8. Judgement without bias
When your judgement is righteous, you should not be afraid of delivering
it even against your near relatives. In such a case you should only keep the
pleasure of Allah before you and should exercise your complete will power.
If it goes against your relations or your companions, you shall have to bear
with it. Although it would be heavy on you, but you shall have to keep only
the final result in view, which will certainly be good after all.9. Sentence to death and other deterrent punishments
Sentences to death should not be executed and other examplary
punishments should not be awarded until all such sentences are referred to
and are confirmed by me.
10. The Jury
Your jury should not consist of those who are greedy, coward and
paupers because such persons are not expected to arrive at a correct decision
in any case or deliver a righteous judgement without being impartial.
11. Disposal of Work Without Delay
The work of a particular day should be disposed of according to the
schedule at the proper time without any delay, because pressure of daily
work demands it.
12. Watch and Check on the Lower Courts by Chief Justice
To keep a proper watch and checking of the work of the lower courts is
one of your main responsibilities. The Qazis sitting there should be allowed
freedom of decision but should in no case be allowed to remain needy so
that nobody should have the courage to make them accept unlawful
gratification and put any kind of pressure on them.
13. Appointment of Judges
For the propagation and maintenance of justice in the country it is
imperative and essential that due care should be taken with regard to the
appointment of the Judges. For this office only top class people and who are
the best in your eyes should be selected. They should be only such people
who may not be afraid of pressure of work, should not insist on their wrong
decisions and should not stick to them after manifestation and revelation of
facts in a case. They should neither be greedy and should be in the habit of
pondering over all cases without any exception. They should also stop at
doubtful cases and should give due consideration and attach importance to
only clear proof. They should not as well feel tired of any long examinations
of the plaintiffs and the defendants of going to the depth of each case and
should be courageous enough to deliver the righteous judgements after
coming of the facts to light. They should be only such persons who may not
be swayed with flattery, although such people are rare in the society and are
difficult to be found.
14. Mistakes in Judgements
In case someone is put to death as a result of a mistake in judgement
which is beyond the control of the judge such as on the basis of witnesses,
the compensation money would be paid from the Government Exchequer
(Baitul Mal).
15. Justice and Generosity
Mercy is a good. thing, but justice is, however, better and should never
be given up, that is, justice should not be sacrificed for mercy.
16. The Holy Quran and the Traditions
The Quranic commandments must be followed in each case but where
explanation is required, traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) should invariably
be referred to, because without referring to the traditions it is at times
impossible to arrive at a correct decision. Besides, the carrying out of
religious obligations without referring to traditions would not be possible through the Holy Quran only, which lays down only principles for the Holy
Prophet (S). As for example, there is no mention of the number of Raka’at of
the Namaz and the detailed Masails (Rules) of the performance of Haj etc.
in the Holy Quran.
17. In Case of a Zindiq
The case of a Zindiq (one who argues against the Quranic
commandments and the religious law) should be decided on the statements
of two male prosecution witnesses who are pious and of proved good
character notwithstanding a thousand defence witnesses of his class
(Zindiq).
18. If a Judge Himself is an Eye-witness
Even if a judge himself is an eye-witness in a case of adultery his witness
is not acceptable, because in such cases at least four witnesses are required
according to the provisions of law.
19. Discretion
In case of the use of discretion (in some case) the path to be adopted
should be the one which is most truthful and most just and satisfying to the
general policy.
20. Orders of Punishment Should not be Executed on the Lands of the
Enemy
Orders of punishment should not be executed within the boundaries of
lands possessed by an enemy, lest the accused should run to the enemy’s
camp for shelter and then fight on his behalf against our country in any way.

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