Supreme Court Chief Justice‚ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said no society can sustain without justice.
Addressing an international convention on 'Fair Trial' in Lahore Saturday‚ the Chief Justice said that justice should be done without any fear.
He said justice is the basic element of all sorts of law across the world. He said justice is indeed the greatest interest of man on earth and without justice no society can survive. Islam has greatly stressed upon the importance of justice. He added the justice is indeed the greatest interest of man on earth and is truth in action. It is rightly said that there is one universal law….That is justice. Justice forms the corner stone of each nation’s law.
He appreciated the initiative taken and the arrangements made by the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan in organizing this historical Convention on the subject of Fair Trial.
“Such events provide opportunity to share our thoughts and experiences to further clarify the vision and streamline our efforts for inexpensive and expeditious justice. Mutual fruitful discussions are inevitable for well calculated practical steps to achieve out objectives,” he said.
“There is no doubt that the blend of wisdom of legal luminaries from across the world while sitting under one roof for a common objective to improve the system of administration of justice would culminate in opening new horizons to meet the emerging challenges,” he said.
Human beings are the crown of creation and lot of efforts have been done from the time immemorial to protect their rights on this planet. Whether it was the Code of Hammurabi or any other ancient Code, the purpose has been the same i.e. the administration of justice and protection of rights of the people. The colors in the panorama of the universe can only remain protected if the rights of the people are protected and the justice is administered without any fear or favour.
The CJP said if the people are not treated equally before the law then they feel aggrieved and tend to take the law in their own hands, which ultimately proves fatal for the whole society and becomes a challenge for the maintenance of law and order and ultimately becomes a challenge in establishing the writ of the Government.
The right to fair trial has been recognized by all countries of the world respecting the rule of law. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th edition, fair trial is a trial by an impartial and disinterested tribunal in accordance with regular procedures; esp., a criminal trial in which the defendant’s constitutional and legal rights are respected.
The Chief Justice said that the right to a fair Trial has been defined in various regional as well as International instruments relating to human rights. Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 states that:
“Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him,” he added.
He said the presumption of innocence, and other minimum rights for those charged in a criminal case including adequate time and facilities to prepare their defence, access to legal representation, right to examine witnesses against them or have them examined and right to the free assistance of an interpreter are particularly highlighted.
Talking about the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, he said, it would be important to mention that this right to fair trial was inserted as a fundamental right in the form of Article 10A in our through the (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010.
“The right to access to justice includes the right to be treated according to law, the right to have a fair and proper trial and a right to have an impartial Court or Tribunal. These observations have also been affirmed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the cases of Government of Balochistan through Additional Chief Secretary Vs. Aziz Ullah Memon and 16 others and also in the case of Al-Jehad Trust and others Vs. Federation of Pakistan and others, etc. This clarifies that this right was already being recognized by our jurisprudence before its insertion in the Constitution,” he added.
He said in order to prevent the law enforcement and intelligence agencies from using their powers arbitrarily and to regulate their powers in accordance with law under proper executive and judicial oversight, “Investigation for Fair Trial Act, 2013” has been enacted.
Justice without fair and expeditious trial would not be a justice indeed. In Pakistan after consultation with all the stakeholders of administration of justice we have formulated the National Judicial Policy to improve the system of administration of justice. The thrust of this Policy is to consolidate and strengthen the independence of judiciary, thereby enabling the judiciary to exercise institutional and administrative independence and thus enabling the judges to have decisional independence to decide cases fairly and impartially.
As the amendment in the already enacted laws is not in the domain of judiciary, however, for expeditious disposal of criminal cases and to ensure fair trial for the accused persons, certain necessary and indispensable measures were adopted through this Policy to cut short the delays.
“Although the right to fair trial is one of those human rights recognized in all the countries respecting constitutionalism and the rule of law yet this is also one of the most litigated human rights as well. I am sure that by ensuring the proper implementation of this right we can ensure the right of “access to justice to all”. This was indeed the need of the hour to highlight the importance of this aspect of the fundamental rights in order to establish the peace and maintain the law and order in the society,” he remarked.
Legal experts from several countries‚ including India‚ are participating in the convention‚ which is being held under the aegis of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
The participation of national as well as international luminaries has fortified the glory of this Convention and the suggestions of all the legal luminaries with blended wisdom would, indeed result in improvement of the implementation of all the fundamental rights in general and the right of fair trial in particular, the CJP concludes.