Over 1.6m cases in courts not yet decided or settled: Chief Justice of Pakistan
By: KHUDAYAR MOHLA
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry revealed that over 1.6 million cases are pending in the district and the superior courts by August 15, 2012.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the new judicial year 2012-13 on Monday Chief Justice Chaudhry stated that the judiciary has a primary role in the justice delivery system, adding that all the authorities and institutions, including the executive and the legislature, have to render auxiliary support and cooperation in the administration of justice and execution of the judicial process.
Additional Attorney General for Pakistan Habib Ullah Shakir urged the judiciary not to pick on issues that render the judges controversial and which do not advance the cause of justice. He further said that in order to save precious time of the apex court, a list of cases to be heard be made available at least one month in advance. Prior to filing any petition in the apex court against the state, Shakir proposed that it be made mandatory for every litigant to provide a copy in advance to the Attorney General or the Advocate General’s office so that the presence of the law officer before the court can be meaningful and he is in a position to provide proper assistance to the august court.
Raising questions over the judicial policy Shakir said that it was initially considered a great achievement, but unfortunately it yielded no fruitful result.
People of the country were expecting speedy justice after the formation of the judicial policy but that did not happen, he said adding that all out efforts should be made to provide inexpensive and expeditious justice to all and sundry. On behalf of the Attorney General’s office he assured the Chief Justice and justices of the apex court of continued support and assistance so long as the court adheres to the Constitution and the law in dispensing justice.
On the occasion, Muhammad Yasin Azad, president Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) requested the apex court to consider discouraging unnecessary and frivolous litigation. He said that until the Parliament considers legislation on this matter the apex court may lay down rules and procedures to punish those who waste the precious time of the judiciary. The SCBA president in reference to the recent appointment of judges said the appointments fell short of merit. He said that a judge must have three basic qualities: absolute integrity, knowledge of law and absence of prejudice.
Azad added that if merit alone ceases to be criteria then every lawyer, irrespective of his or her competence, will aspire to be elevated to the bench. He contended that merit is no longer the driving force for a young lawyer to reach the bench but affiliations with the right group of lawyers and giving false impression to members of the judiciary. Earlier, addressing the ceremony, Chief Justice said that the principle of trichotomy of powers embedded in the provisions of the Constitution aims at creating an atmosphere of harmony and collaboration among all the State institutions in order to achieve the goal of fair dispensation of justice.
Judiciary, the CJ said, has been specifically invested with the power of judicial review in order to check arbitrary excesses and deviations for sustainable development of the justice system and securing the enforcement of fundamental rights of the people.
I feel pride in mentioning that in recent years, judiciary as the third pillar of State has successfully emerged as a savior and a protector of constitutional supremacy and fundamental rights, the CJP said adding that judicial activism on the part of Supreme Court has not only ameliorated the judicial system as a whole, but has also enhanced public trust and confidence in the institution. Social evils need to be uprooted through a collaborative and conjunctive effort before they completely erode the social fabric, the CJP said.
The Chief Justice appreciated the role of the bar in the administration of justice, which is the other wheel of the chariot of justice along with the bench in all matters, be it the decision of the cases of the litigant public or the resolution of constitutional and legal issues of general public importance.
A strong bar provides strength to the judiciary and enables it to make independent decisions, the CJP said adding that the members of the bar have wholeheartedly come forward in the discharge of their professional duties towards the Court and their clients.
He said that the disposal of large number of cases at every tier of the judicial hierarchy would not be possible without their coordination and cooperation.
The Chief Justice said that under the Constitution, the Superior Courts are empowered to interpret the law and adjudge the validity of the acts of the executive and the legislature on the touchstone of the Constitution. The ceremony was attended by all the judges of the apex court, law officers of the country as well as Advocate Generals of all the provinces.