ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Bar Council on Saturday expressed grave concerns over the ongoing judicial activism led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, urging the apex court to confine itself to cases of fundamental rights.

At the same time, the apex legal body urged all institutions to remain within their constitutional domain.

The PBC also unanimously resolved that it will support the upcoming general election if held as per the timeline given in the Constitution.

These resolutions were passed during a meeting of the council held in Lahore under the chair of PBC Vice-Chairman Kamran Murtaza. The meeting was also attended by 18 other members of the council, said a press statement issued here on Saturday. The council reiterated that all state institutions and organs should remain within their constitutional domain in discharging their functions.

“The PBC is of the considered view that the Supreme Court should sparingly exercise its powers under Article 184(3) of the Constitution confining only to the cases pertaining to the enforcement of fundamental rights to maintain the principle of trichotomy of powers,” the PBC said. 

The PBC also urged the top court to suitably amend the Supreme Court Rules 1980 to regulate structure parameters of the exercise of such powers and a special bench of the court should be constituted for suo moto cases.

The PBC reaffirmed its support for the continuation of democratic process in the country and timely holding of the upcoming general election.

It urged that “all necessary steps be taken to ensure conduct and holding of fair, impartial and transparent general election without any influence from non-democratic forces, and as per the timeline given in the Constitution”.

The PBC further resolved that the Supreme Court must also ensure its own accountability “because the prevailing system of self-accountability lacks transparency”.

“The judiciary which holds every other organ and institution of the state accountable must also ensure its own accountability with respect of financial, administrative and judicial matters in an effective, transparent and fair manner, as the prevailing system of self-accountability lacks transparency,” the PBC said.

The council also urged that the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) should make public the information regarding the number of complaints/references pending and decided against judges of the superior judiciary, including those which have become infructuous because of the retirement of the judges, with effect from 2010.

The top court had dismissed a petition seeking disclosure of information regarding pending references in SJC against judges of superior courts.

The PBC also reiterated its earlier resolutions demanding open, fair and transparent procedure for appointment of judges to the superior courts and an objective criterion should be introduced through suitable amendments to the Rules of Judicial Commission of Pakistan.

“The process should also include meaningful consultation/input with the bar and the parliamentary committee,” the council said.

The council also lamented that parliamentary parties have failed to legislate and amend the Constitution for completely eliminating the amendments introduced by military dictators like Article 62 (1) (f), PEMRA ordinance and others as per aspirations of the people.

The PBC has time and again expressed its concerns over the judicial activism by ‘prioritising’ cases in the name of public interest while sweeping the routine matters under the carpet.

Meanwhile, the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP) has convened a two-day “judicial conference on May 4 and May 5 in Islamabad.

LJCP Chairman, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will inaugurate and conclude the conference. The inaugural session will be held on May 4 at Supreme Court building while plenary/thematic sessions and the concluding session shall be held on May 5 at the Federal Judicial Academy.

Foreign dignitaries including judges, jurists, luminaries of law and renowned researchers from around the world will attend the conference.