Judiciary’s position parallel to that of legislature: CJ Iftikhar
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Thursday said that interpretation of laws was the judiciary’s calling whereas implementation of those laws was the executive’s responsibility. Addressing a full court reference on the occasion of Justice Shakirullah Jan’s retirement, the chief justice said that the judiciary was aware of the fundamental rights of the people and the authorities and rights of state institutions. He said that the judiciary held a position parallel to that of the legislature and of the executive. The chief justice rejected the perception that the judiciary was playing the role of the opposition, adding that all state institutions should
respect the judiciary’s independence. He added that the existence of and respect for an independent judiciary was inevitable for the state. He stressed upon the notion that bar and bench together can bring major reforms in the legal and judicial system through mutual understanding and cooperation. According to the Chief Justice, such reforms can mitigate the common problems of backlog of cases, frivolous and protracted litigation, heavy costs and courts fees, non-appearance of lawyers and witnesses and others. An impartial, independent and accountable judicial sector is crucial to the protection of basic human rights, fair resolution of disputes and the sustainable economic and political development, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary noted. He quoted a verse from the Holy Quran that appreciated the impartiality in the delivery of justice as a feature recognised by Islam. Chief Justice of Pakistan observed the judiciary is performing functions purely within the constitutional domain, adding that in any democratic setup Judiciary stands at the higher pedestal as compared to the other two organs of state, that is the executive and the legislature. The role of Superior Court in all modern democracies is crucial for protecting human rights, countering terrorism, curbing violence and checking corruption and corrupt practices and good governance, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary said. The role of Judiciary cannot be relegated to that of an opposition merely because it renders decisions strictly in accordance with law, he maintained. He expressed hope that all the state institutions and civil society will join hands for achieving the common goal of transforming Pakistan to a true welfare State by following principles of rule of law, fairness, accountability, transparency and constitutional supremacy. In the end, he wished the retiring judge of Supreme Court, Justice Shakirullah Jan well for the future.