Besides this, the common man had only one ray of hope, i.e. the superior judiciary as in 2011 alone, 150,000 applications were received by the Supreme Court sent by ordinary citizens to exercise its powers under Article 184 (3), a proof of people’s trust in the superior judiciary.
Voices are being raised against the suo moto notices taken by the Supreme Court but the record of the court and failure of the successive governments show that had there been no suo moto notices, there would have been no institution in the country to curb corruption.
In a country where the governments resort to and then hide corruption and where the Federal Investigation Agency is tamed, there is only one institution, the Supreme Court, which has taken a stand against corruption, injustices, police brutalities and appointments of incompetent people on lucrative posts.
The superior judiciary since its restoration in 2009 has taken up cases involving over Rs400 billion and has saved billions, which had almost gone into the pockets of the powerful and mighty. This is apart from the NRO cases that involve another Rs175 billion of looted money.
The record of the Supreme Court and high courts shows that the governments had done little to curb corruption and in fact they have been using the state machinery to hide corruption. In addition to suo moto notices taken in numerous human rights cases, cleansing the superiorjudiciary of the likes of Dogar and removing constitutional distortions introduced by General (retd) Musharraf and his hand-picked judges, the Supreme Court since March 2009 has so far picked up for hearing corruption cases, illegal and controversial allotments of the state land at throwaway prices, fraudulent bank loaning and other financial matters involving billions of rupees.
These cases were taken up at a time when there were reports of worst kind of corruption in government institutions.Constitutional experts opine that the judiciary under Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was among the best in the world keeping in mind the ground realities of Pakistan.
Former chief justice Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui, who refused to take oath under Musharraf’s first PCO, while commenting on the judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said whatever the Supreme Court had done had no parallel in the history of Pakistan. The apex court has taken up some cases of very important nature, however, in some cases the Supreme Court should have referred them to the lower courts, as they were not of an important nature.
About the original jurisdiction of the apex court, Justice Siddiqui said that there was no proper definition of the jurisdiction of Article 184(3). However, he said one has to lay down some policy about the exercise of Article 184(3) as to where it should be used.
Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed said every country has different ground realities. Keeping in view the ground reality of Pakistan, the apex court has not crossed its limit in exercising its powers, he claimed. He wondered why the international community only highlights the rights of minorities. In Pakistan, he said, the basic rights of the majority are also being violated.
Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmood, while talking to The News, said that there was no set formula as to where to exercise Article 184 (3) and where to avoid it. However, he said there were certain cases where the courts a took long time but in the end no result was produced. Hence, the courts should take up other cases of important nature which are pending for quite a long time.
Athar Minallah, while commenting on Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s tenure, said that the era of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was remarkable in the judicial history of Pakistan.
He said there was a need for an improvement in the judicial system of Pakistan as the basic task of the apex court was to dispense justice, which should be obvious to everyone. The Article 184(3) delegates the power to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which should be used accordingly as per the need and importance of the matter.
Senior lawyer Ikram Chaudhry said that the tenure of Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is a golden era in which we have seen the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution. Not only this, it was the Supreme Court which curbed the menace of corruption. He said that the judiciary under Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry brought positive changes in the country, which in the long run would be helpful for the nation.
The list of cases taken up by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is very long. Some important cases are mentioned here: the Karachi violence case; Balochistan issue; the NICL scam; Haj scam; the case involving lynching of two brothers in Sialkot; Evacuee Trust Property Board case; Bank of Punjab case; Sindh land allotment cases; Federal Government Housing Foundation land scam; missing persons’ case; Punjab land allotments; Steel Mills scandal; loans write-off case worth Rs256 billion; Pakistan Cricket Board case involving Rs7 billion.
The Supreme Court also did not spare the plaza owners of Lahore and ordered dismantling of illegally-constructed plazas. The SC also took up the case of sugar price issue, Carbon Tax suo moto notice, Musharraf’s electricity theft case, alleged corruption of former attorney general and former Governor Punjab Latif Khosa, SC ordered Punjab to reinstate ad hoc lecturers in three days, Murree Gas Pipeline Project involving Hamza Shahbaz. The Supreme Court also took notice of public flogging of a girl in Swat; another important case of promotions of 54 officers of Grade 21 was also heard by the SC.Besides, dozens of suo moto notices for recovery of abducted persons have also been taken.
Golden era of judiciary was seen under CJ Chaudhry, say experts. Reviewed by Sarah Peracha on 11:35:00 PM Rating: