SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT/ AGENCIES
“Equality before law and equal protection of law are the principles which subject all people to the same laws of justice,” the chief justice said in his inaugural speech at the International Jurists Conference in London.
He stressed that the courts must treat every person equally notwithstanding his caste, colour and status while fulfilling the responsibility of administration of justice. “The judiciary by adopting an attitude of zero tolerance towards crime and criminal; in accordance with legal procedures, can no doubt bring the society towards peace and prosperity,” he added.
Highlighting the role of the judicial system, the chief justice said it had a special role to play in securing the basic human and fundamental rights to citizens in a given society and in protecting their life and liberty.
Judiciary, he said, acted as an ultimate protector and upholders of rights of citizens and civil liberties, adding that the 1973 Constitution had made specific provisions for the protection of fundamental rights.
He said the Supreme Court of Pakistan acted as a final arbiter and protector of constitutional norms by virtue of constitutional mandate. “The apex court, by taking its constitutional responsibility of adhering to the principles of justice and fair play, tried its utmost to redress the grievances in matters of public importance and involving violation of fundamental rights.”
“The Supreme Court under its inherent powers of judicial review has set out precedents of constitutional importance that have led to the improvement of criminal and civil justice system in Pakistan,” he added.
Defending an autonomous and independent judicial system, Chief Justice Chaudhry termed it as a sine quo non for a functional democracy and said it was central for social harmony and good governance in any given democratic society. “Independence of judiciary from extraneous and internal influences is essential for the nourishment of good governance in all institutions of the State,” he observed.
“Rule of law bears a substantial impact on the economic development of transitional states and its establishment rests on a strong constitutional and legal framework.”
“The supremacy of the constitution, strengthening of state institutions and independence of judiciary are some of the main factors that lead towards the formation of an integrated and impartial legal and judicial structure built on the well-established norms of justice,” the chief justice highlighted.
Highlighting the system in Pakistan, he told the conference that the principle of trichotomy of power beautifully woven in the constitutional scheme of Pakistan distributed and harmonized the powers among the three organs of the state.
“Jurisdictional domain of each of these organs has been manifestly set out by the Constitution itself. Every organ is independent within its domain and enjoys unfettered powers subject to specified constitutional constraints.”
He said adherence to the constitutional principle of trichotomy of powers facilitated the establishment of rule of law, which was an essential trait of any democratic setup, adding that the trichotomy of powers was a tool to diffuse powers of all the three organs as absolute power was likely to be misused or abused.
He said unfettered and unrestrained investing of powers in one of the organs of the state is a recipe for authoritarianism and mismanagement. “It merely retards the growth and adversely affects the functioning of the other two organs.”
The chief justice said anarchy and chaos were the natural outcome of arbitrary exercise of powers by the state institutions; thus, the system of checks and balances run parallel to the system of distribution of power.
Talking about the menace of terrorism, he said it had to be eradicated with the means that should be more humane and in conformity with established human rights and judicial norms.
He said the recognition of human rights was the foundation of tranquillity, justice, societal freedom and peace in the world. “Protection of these rights is indispensible for the existence of humanity.
He told the conference that Pakistan enacted and enforced special anti-terrorism laws to counter terrorism and terrorist activities.