SC is the ultimate watchdog: CJP Iftikhar
16 November, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Addressing the Supreme Court's full court meeting on Thursday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said superior judiciary enjoys the crosscutting jurisdiction to carry out oversight and ensure state institutions function within their respective domains
Addressing the Supreme Court's full court meeting on Thursday, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said power of the apex court, known as power of judicial review, is a sacred trust which must be exercised in an independent and effective manner as it is a duty cast on the judiciary, and the courts have to discharge it without fear or favour.
In the backdrop of ongoing cold war between the judiciary and army, an SC full court meeting was held on Thursday under the chairmanship of the CJP himself. It was attended by Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Nasirul Mulk, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Tariq Parvez, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Justice Amir Hani Muslim, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh Azmat Saeed.
The chief justice said the Supreme Court is a constitutional body which has constitutionally-guaranteed jurisdictions like appellate, review, original and advisory. "As per the prescribed principles enshrined in the Constitution, every organ of the state has to perform its duties and functions within the mandated sphere. Institutions also strive to excel others and perform better, which is a welcome sign, as it is for better delivery and service to the people. However, superior judiciary enjoys the cross-cutting jurisdiction empowering it to carry out the role of oversight and ensure that no institution or department or authority may interfere in the domain of the other and further to check the unlawful or unauthorised or malafide act or exercise of authority," he added.
The CJP said the present-day judiciary is looked upon as one institution which is delivering services to the people in an active manner. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the judiciary to come up to the peoples' expectations and become a role model for all other institutions to follow.
"Although no one institution has capacity to provide good governance single-handedly, yet the institution of the judiciary due to its credibility and institutional mandate can inspire all others to do their duties in a transparent manner keeping in view the interest of people of Pakistan," Justice Iftikhar said. At the beginning of the meeting, he formally welcomed all the judges and said that the meeting is now a regular event and useful forum. It gives the judges an opportunity to deliberate on issues and matters pertaining to the functioning of the court, he noted.
"The object is to improve the court functioning and deliver to the beneficiaries of the justice system meaning the litigants and those who have approached the court seeking relief for violation of their rights and restoration of rights and entitlements." The CJP said that efforts have also been made to fill the vacancies in the courts and enhance the capacity of judiciary.
"The office has laid bare the judicial statistic of the current year which is indicative of our success to decide almost as many cases as were filed. Having said so, however, we have inherited some pendency. Therefore we have to review the judicial statistics of the court to ponder over the matter and plan coherent and practical strategy for addressing the pendency figure. Notwithstanding the disposal of significant number of cases due to the hard work of my brother judges, there is discernable trend of rising institution, both under the regular jurisdiction and public interest litigation under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution," Justice Iftikhar said, adding, "The rising institution is primarily on account of disposal of cases in large number by the high courts but also invocation of Article 184 (3) in cases of violation of fundamental rights involving issue of public importance as well as petitions and applications received from the deprived, under-privileged and vulnerable sections of society. And whereas the rising institution poses the problem to strategise for expeditious disposal of cases, it is also indicative of public trust in the ability and capacity of this Court to grant relief and redress grievances."