Constitution is supreme, not parliament: CJP Iftikhar
08 July, 2012
KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said the constitution, not parliament, was the supreme entity in Pakistan and that Article 8 of the constitution empowered the Supreme Court to strike down any legislation which encroached upon the basic rights of the citizens.
The chief justice said this while speaking at a roll signing ceremony of 16 newly enrolled advocates for the Supreme Court on Saturday at the Karachi Registry of the Supreme Court. He congratulated the lawyers on their enrollment as advocates of the apex court.
He advised the advocates to come well-prepared for their cases as they were to protect the rights of their clients and at the same time, as officers of the court, they were to render assistance to the court as well and the decisions based on their arguments were to become precedents for the future.
The chief justice referred to a "misconception in the minds of people regarding supremacy of parliament". It was the constitution which expressed and embodied the will of the people, he said, adding that the constitution empowered the apex court to strike down any legislation which encroached upon the basic rights of the citizens.
He further said that the Supreme Court was fully empowered to strike down any law which was in conflict with the constitution. He stated that even in the United Kingdom, the doctrine of supremacy of parliament was now seen to be out of place and emphasised that it was time, after 65 years of independence, that "we free ourselves from the shackles of obsequious intellectual servility to colonial paradigms and start adhering to our constitution". "We should only examine our own constitution to ensure that the will of the people prevails, which is the very essence of a democratic system," he added.
He also emphasised the need for independent judiciary in the country and said that only a free and independent judiciary could ensure that will of the people was enforced in its true spirit. Reference in this regard was made to Article 190 of the constitution, which binds all executive and judicial authorities throughout Pakistan to act in the aid of the Supreme Court. He said they wanted supremacy of law and constitution in the country and emphasised that the constitution was to be followed, preserved and protected at all costs.
The chief justice further said that law is equal for every citizen of the country irrespective of status and position.