ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Tasadduq Hussain Jillani Friday said judiciary has put an end to constitutional deviations and upheld rule of law.
Addressing the inaugural session of two-day International Judicial Conference, he said judiciary has created awareness among people about values of democracy. He said the judiciary has also created awareness among people about the true meaning of fundamental rights.
Justice Jillani pointed out that the judiciary was performing its duties while upholding the respect and independence of other pillars of state. He said the Supreme Court was exercising its power of judicial review of administrative actions to safeguard rights of individuals against excesses of the executive. The chief justice said good governance was possible if every organ and institution of the state including the courts, function within the parameters of the Constitution.
He welcomed foreign delegates and hoped that deliberations would help address a number of legal issues. He said the International Judicial Conference, which now has become almost a regular feature, primarily served three key purposes, which were crucial to the proper administration of justice in the country and it provided an invaluable platform to lawyers and judges for the sharing of ideas across different aspects of the law.
He said that IJC promotes communication and understanding between the bench and the bar and indeed throughout the legal community in a comfortable and congenial environment away from the adversarial norm of the courts. He said it also allowed for the generation of new ideas and approaches to tackle the myriad legal issues that are faced not only in country today but are also relevant to nations throughout the world.
Justice Jillani said that the Supreme Court was proud to spearhead and support this initiative with the support of the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan, and "we hope that each one of you will participate fully to take advantage of the tremendous and manifold opportunities that an event such as this has on offer."
"I would also like to take this opportunity to underscore the fact that it was the collective determination and effort of the superior judiciary in the post-2007 period that transformed this court from a formal constitutional court to a Supreme Court with a human rights face."
"In this avatar, the Supreme Court has time and again affirmed that the essence of constitutional interpretation is, and has to be, the betterment of the people whilst still remaining within the bounds of the law."
He said this resolve of the Supreme Court was also reflected in official court anthem, 'Justice for All' which "I had the honour of penning on eve of the first International Judicial Conference held in 2006 and which was presented before you by the chorus of young children a short while earlier".
He said that the insight and greater wisdom gained by the judiciary in the post-2007 period, which continued to inform its actions and decisions to date has facets that mere formal constitutional legitimacy based on constitutional textual protections cannot protect judicial independence and power and it is, in fact legitimacy of the Supreme Court in the eyes of the public as the guardian of the values of justice that guarantees its true independence and sustained prestige.
He said the Supreme Court was not merely mandated by the Constitution, but in fact, bound by the spirit of its office, to exercise its independence in order to provide a much necessary check on the actions of the legislature and the executive.
"We are proud to state that the Supreme Court is now fulfilling this role with an appropriate zeal and enthusiasm but not without regard to the importance of upholding and respecting the independence of the other pillars of the State and the authority of the Supreme Court, especially under its judicial review jurisdiction may be usefully extended to a number of areas from which the Supreme Court had historically maintained a distance."
"In accordance with this realization the Supreme Court has increasingly exercised its power of judicial review of administrative actions to safeguard the rights of individuals against excesses of the executive rather than to bow down to the will of the executive", he said.
The agenda of the conference included role of judiciary in protecting human rights, access to justice in the context of constitutional requirements, role of judiciary in promotion of culture of tolerance and judicial review of administrative actions.