No difference among judges on holding of general elections in 90 days: CJP

ISLAMABAD   -  Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial Monday said that the Su­preme Court had decided 23,000 cases in one year that included the constitu­tional issues filed before the Court.

He said the court was tested sever­al times in February 2023 with mat­ters pertaining to the Constitution of Pakistan. “I don’t want to repeat all that has happened but it is reflected in part in the decision announced last week [audio leaks case],” the CJP fur­ther said.

CJP Bandial expressed these views while he was addressing a Full Court held for New Judicial Year on Monday. Attorney Gener­al for Pakistan Mansoor Us­man Awan, Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Ha­roon-ur-Rasheed and Supreme Court Bar Association Presi­dent Abid Shahid Zuberi also spoke on the occasion. The CJP said that there was no differ­ence among judges on holding of general elections in 90 days. He added, “None of us alone in this cause.” He said that the dif­ficulties arose when there was no political stability. He also said, “We all want political sta­bility, because without it there can’t be economic and other progress. I know that my suc­cessor is conscious of the all the issues. He is very able person.”

The CJP said the Supreme Court had duty to interpret the Constitution and laws. “In CMA we have laid down pro­cedures for taking suo moto. In nine months we have taken only one suo moto,” he said.

He remarked that in summer the judges worked tirelessly in writing judgments and hearing cases in the courts. “We have worked 13 to 16 hours daily. My innocent statement ‘short and sweet judgment’ turned into sarcastic statement. My greeting words ‘Good to see’ were also misreported and tak­en out of context. We are able to enhance the scope of argu­ments by the lawyers through video-link. In one year 10,000 people utilized the facilities, top of using this facility is La­hore, second is Peshawar then Karachi, Quetta and Islam­abad,” the Chief Justice said.

Justice Bandial said with the help of Law and Justice Com­mission Alternate Dispute Res­olution (ADR) had been intro­duced throughout the country, adding with its effective usage the burden on courts would reduce. At the end, the chief justice appreciated the role of media, saying they were the eyes and ears of the society. He also thanked SC judges. “I want my brothers and sister judg­es the manner I got their sup­port.” He said the judges of the apex court were independent mind, fearless and extra-or­dinary intellectuals, adding they had difference of opinion, which was good for growth of the institution. He maintained, “As an outgoing chief justice I must share that I have learned not only through their consen­sus, but with their differences, as they have no serious griev­ance towards me.” AGP Man­soor in his address said that the apex court must dedicate more of its time and energy to cases under its appellate juris­diction, under Article 185 of the constitution, than it does to its original jurisdiction, un­der Article 184(3). 

He said the exercise of original jurisdiction, especially in what are often called as “high pro­file or political cases”, usually re­quired the SC judges to sit in spe­cial benches at the expense of the Court’s appellate function which, if I may say so, is this Court’s pri­mary function and duty.

He added that the original ju­risdiction must be used spar­ingly and in the most extraor­dinary cases. The constitution required that this jurisdiction ought to be exercised for mat­ters of public importance relat­ed to the enforcement of fun­damental rights only. The AGP marked that the court must re­main cautious of the principles of separation of powers. When the court disregarded these principles, it encroached upon the domains of legislature and executive. Such use of the origi­nal jurisdiction of the court not only diverted the court’s time and energy from performing its primary constitutional pur­pose, but also attracted con­troversy both within the court and outside.

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