Speaking at the opening ceremony of new Judicial Year 2013-14, he said, “Courts respect and support democratic institutions, elected officials and public functionaries in performing their functions, which is necessary for good governance and socio-economic and political development of the country.” However, he added, judges of the high courts and Supreme Court are under a solemn oath to “preserve, protect and defend the constitution and in the performance of this onerous duty, they are sometimes constrained to adjudicate upon the actions of other authorities of the state, not because they arrogate to themselves any claim of superiority or infallibility but because the constitution itself charges them with this necessary function, in the interests of national cohesion and stability”. He also said that Article 184(3) confers concurrent jurisdiction on the Supreme Court to intervene and redress the grievances and problems of citizens with regard to violation of their fundamental rights and where an issue of public importance is involved.
The chief justice said under Article 184(3) of the constitution, cases are registered through formal submission of petitions submitted by a party in person or through his counsel.
Petitions are also entertained from individuals and communities who are socially or financially or politically disadvantaged and as such not getting justice at the local level or from the executive, he added. “It is not for me to say as to whether the role of the Supreme Court in this regard is well-received or ill-received. I shall leave this question to the future historian to determine.”
Justice Chaudhry said the Indian Supreme Court, besides hearing appeals and cases against the judgements of the subordinate courts, also hear “Public Interest Litigation”, and initiates proceedings itself.
“During the 1980s and early 1990s, the court issued a number of landmark judgements, including key rulings on the rights of prisoners, bonded labourers, pavement dwellers, and children,” the CJP said. About the issue of missing persons, the chief justice said that the court has made every effort to ensure that all the missing persons are accounted for.
“The constitution now provides for the right to fair trial for the determination of civil rights or obligations as well as any criminal charge against the person. Regrettably, no proper policy has been formulated yet by the federal government to ensure compliance with the constitutional safeguards.”
There are many evils in the society but corruption is on the top of the list, he said. He also referred to the case of an ex-prime minister who allegedly extended favours to the senators, members of the National Assembly, provincial assemblies, notables and other functionaries by generously distributing funds to the tune of Rs 52 billion.
He said that judiciary was giving preference to old cases and even in the Supreme Court, old cases are being heard on a priority basis. Petitions for urgent hearing are also entertained and cases fixed, if sufficient cause is shown, he said.
“From September 1, 2012 to September 6, 2013, against the institution of 18,105 new cases, 18,927 cases were disposed of; resultantly the net balance was reduced to 20,089 cases. Similarly, the Human Right Cell in the Supreme Court from September 1, 2012 to September 7, 2013, received 45,040 complaints, while 46,287 complaints were disposed of and the balance is of 17,577 complaints.”
Justice Chaudhry said that since June 2009 until now, the judiciary has decided 11.75 million cases against the institution of 11.56 million new cases, resulting in reduction of backlog to the extent of 18,4,142 cases.
“The National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee sent formal requests to the governments to increase the number of judicial officers and strengthening the court infrastructure. However, only the demand of Lahore High for 317 posts of ADJs and 696 posts of civil judge-cum-judicial magistrates have been adhered to by the Punjab government and initially an amount of Rs 1 billion has been sanctioned for that purpose.” He said after the application of National Judicial Policy and continuous monitoring the situation regarding eradication of corruption in the lower judiciary has improved considerably.
“But there is a dire need to strengthen the surveillance systems of the courts at district level for which I will urge the members of the bar to come forward and join us to eradicate corruption in its forms and manifestation,” the CJP said.
Judiciary has to intervene when state organ exceeds limits: CJP. Reviewed by Sarah Peracha on 1:23:00 AM Rating: