Pakistan’s Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani Monday said that the Supreme Court would continue to exercise its judicial review powers whenever there would be transgression of authority by the executive or by the legislature.
He said this while addressing a dinner reception hosted by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) in his honour here.
Chief Justice Jillani’s predecessor Justice (retd) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry leveraged his prominent position to pressure the government and military on issues such as corruption and unlawful detentions. However, critics accuse him of wading into the political arena that lay way outside the judiciary's domain. “It is only an independent and sensitive judiciary which can oversee the exercise of powers by the state institutions and thereby protect and preserve the rights guaranteed in the constitution”, said the chief justice. “The constitution has defined the role and power of every organ of the state and none of the organ can transgress the limits of the other and has to work within its jurisdictional domain.”
“Rule of law is directly linked with the principle of trichotomy of powers,” Justice Jillani said. The judicial institution constitutionally is neither invested with legislative nor executive powers, and while holding the status of a neutral umpire, it has to play a unique role through the exercise of its power of judicial review to ensure that these are in accordance with the letter and spirit of the constitution, he said.
“Pakistani society is passing through hard times due to prevalent law and order situation and a culture of terrorism, extremism, sectarianism and extra-judicial killings.”
SCBA president Kamran Mutaza also spoke on the occasion and requested the chief justice to fill vacant posts of judges in the high courts.
He also emphasized that, “we need to make the bar accountable and the judiciary too needs to reflect on its role.”
Published in The Nation newspaper on 04-Feb-2014