ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has said that it is imperative to safeguard and protect democracy as a system of government which is an acknowledged basic feature of our constitution.
“We serve the people of Pakistan and we serve the Constitution of Pakistan to the best of our understanding and ability. We do not write judgments to please, we do not write judgments to settle scores, we render judgments in the fine scales of justice, the Chief Justice said while speaking during a full court reference held at the SC building here on Monday to mark the start of the new judicial year.
He said the Constitution is supreme and all state institutions should fulfill their responsibilities according to the law.
“Our Constitution provides system of governance to be run by the three organs of the State, namely, Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. They derive their power and authority from the Constitution. The Constitution is supreme and each State organ has to perform its duties and functions in accordance with the Constitutional scheme” Mian Saqib Nisar elaborated.
He said the most vital aspect of a true democracy is the rule of law for which the independence of judiciary is a sine qua non.
“An independent judiciary administers justice according to the dictates of the Constitution and the law, and ensures protection of fundamental rights, with a view to achieving the ultimate goal of ensuring social, economic and political justice”, he observed.
He elaborated that independence of judiciary means that the judges must be independent from all kinds of influences from any side, be it Executive or by any other person or authority in the echelons of power.
Mian Saqib Nisar said under the Constitution, the Judiciary is vested with the power to undertake judicial review whenever any authority or functionary of the State acts ultra vires the Constitution or the law. With a view to ushering in peace and progress and allowing physical and spiritual growth of the society, it is necessary to uphold the rule of law by all means.
The Chief Justice said the Court also initiated suo motu proceedings in matters of great public importance involving violation of fundamental rights, such as, non-payment of retirement benefits to pensioners by various departments; blocking and non-issuance of CNICs by NADRA; the bomb blast at Civil Hospital Quetta; non-functioning of Tribunals and Administrative Courts on account of vacancies; non-provision of clean drinking water; cutting of trees for extension of Pishin-Yaro Road, poor system of investigation and prosecution; etc. Besides, 29262 complaints were received in the Human Rights Cell, established in the Supreme Court under the public interest litigation jurisdiction for redressal of grievances. On this side, 29657 complaints were disposed of leaving behind 9701 complaints. This exercise, in some measure, brought relief to the aggrieved persons, he added.
He said that the judges of the Apex court have mostly forsaken the bulk of their vacation time to deal with cases and workload. Despite this, there has been a continuous rise in the backlog of cases in the Supreme Court.
Giving details, Mian Saqib Nisar said on 31st August 2016, 30871 cases were pending in this Court. During the period from 1st September, 2016 to 31th August, 2017, against overall institution of 19488 fresh cases, 13667 cases were decided. This has left a net balance of 36692 cases as on 31st August, 2017 requiring determination by this Court.
He said though the rate of disposal of cases is significant, yet the number of pending cases presents a daunting figure. It continues to haunt their minds and souls.
He thanked the brother Judges for their cooperation and commitment to the cause of justice and the efforts made by them for the achievement of the goal of dispensation of justice. He also appreciated the hard work put in by the Court staff in providing assistance to the Court.
Mian Saqib Nisar said an advanced Case Flow Management System has been developed. All cases are registered in the system and pendency and disposal of cases from filing to disposal stage are monitored through it. The entire case data is available not only at the Principal Seat but also at the Branch Registries. He said steps are being taken to further upgrade the system and pave the way for e-filing of cases. Initially, the Advocates and parties will be required to provide soft copies of their cases.
The Chief Justice emphasised the utmost importance of a strong relationship between the Bench and the Barbuilt on mutual trust and respect. He emphasised that all the stakeholders of the system of administration of justice are required to work together to solve this backlog as well as other problems.
The ceremony was attended by the justices of the supreme court, Mr. Ashtar Ausaf Ali, Attorney General for Pakistan; Mr. Muhammad Ahsan Bhoon, Vice Chairman, Pakistan Bar Council; Mr. Rasheed A. Rizvi, President, Supreme Court Bar Association and members of the Bar. INP