“Law has reached its finest moments when it has freed man from the unlimited discretion of some ruler. Where discretion is absolute, man has always suffered.” Justice William Douglas of the US Supreme Court. The Government of Pakistan and the Provinces select/appoint Additional/Deputy Attorney Generals of Pakistan, and Additional/Assistant Advocate Generals of Provinces (“Law Officers“) to assist the respective government in various courts, including the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan, as well as the High Courts. The Law Officers perform a public function and are paid from the exchequer after selection/appointment by the Government. As a customary practice, such law officers are directly selected by the respective Government through an informal process and without following an objective or defined criterion. Thus, the selections are discriminatory and arbitrary in so far as the same exclude the meritorious and capable lawyers from participating in the process of selection, which is a clear violation of Article 4 and 25 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The government and all public bodies are trustees of the power vested in them, hence it is their primary duty to discharge trust reposed in them in the best possible manner. The power to engage, employ or recruit servants, agents, advisors and representatives must, like any other power, be exercised in a fair, reasonable, non-discriminatory and objective manner. Under Article 4 and 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the duty to act in a fair, reasonable, non-discriminatory and objective manner is a facet of the rule of law in a constitutional democracy like ours. There is no clear method by which the Government ensures that those selected are the best at their job. That aspect is crucial, when those appointed are expected to discharge important public functions, affecting not only the interests of the government, but the quality of justice which the courts administer The process being followed for selection of law officers is such that leaves room for nepotism and discretionary appointments. The appointments are made by Government without any structured scheme, policy, norms or standards based on fairness, reasonability, non-discrimination and objectivity. As such, there is no clear method by which the Government ensures that those picked up are the best at their job. That aspect is crucial, when those appointed are expected by the very nature of their appointment to discharge important public functions, affecting not only the interests of the government, but the quality of justice which the courts administer. It has been observed in the past that the selection process for the various appointments are not publicly available, so can the process be credible in terms of its fairness and objectivity. The Government constitute the single largest litigant in our judicial system, and law officers so appointed represent them in all these matters. It is undeniable that for a fair, quick and satisfactory adjudication of a cause, the assistance which the court gets from the Bar is extremely important. It is a well settled principle that quality of judgment or justice administered by the courts is directly proportionate to the quality of assistance that the courts get from the counsel appearing in a case. Apart from adversely affecting the public interest, which law officers are supposed to protect, poor quality of assistance rendered to the courts by state counsels can affect the value of justice itself. A fair, reasonable or non-discriminatory process of appointment of law officers is not thus demanded only by the rule of law to avoid arbitrariness, but also by reason of the compelling need to do complete justice, which the courts are obliged to do in each and every cause. The dominant purpose which ought to permeate any process of selection and appointment, namely the “protection of public interest” in courts by availing services of the most meritorious, is clearly defeated by the method that the respective government have been following and continue to follow. If a Government counsel discharges an important public function and if it is the primary duty of those running the affairs of the Government to act fairly, objectively and on a non- discriminatory basis, there should be no option for them except to choose the best at the bar. The government and public bodies are thus under an obligation to ensure that selections and appointment processes must demonstrate that search for meritorious lawyers have been made, and the process was not be affected by any extraneous considerations. The writer is a graduate of University of London. He is an Advocate, High Court and is a Senior Partner at Saqlain Arshad and Co Published in Daily Times, September 17th 2018.