People’s fundamental rights to be protect regardless of religion or social difference: CJP

CJPISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Justice Nasir ul Mulk has emphatically stated that Judiciary will not only retain its fidelity to the Constitution but will ensure that it is observed by all other functionaries of the state.

“The Supreme Court and the judiciary of Pakistan shall forever endeavor to dispense justice to all, without being affected by any interest or extrinsic considerations” the Chief Justice said.

Speaking at a Full Court Reference on the eve of the start of new judicial year here on Monday, the Chief Justice said it was their primary obligation to preserve, protect and defend the constitution which would be undertaken without fear or favour, affection or ill will.

“Judges do not merely interpret the words of the constitution but also have the duty to preserve and protect it against any moves designed to defeat the scheme of the Constitution. It has been repeatedly emphasized by this Court that no person or institution can elevate themselves above the Constitution” the Chief Justice emphasized.

Justice Nasir ul Mulk said this is an event where we renew our pledge and determination to uphold the Constitution, the responsibilities of the Judiciary under it and our unwavering resolve to protect, preserve and promote the fundamental rights of the people.

He pointed out that progress, security and development cannot take place in the absence of safeguards provided in the Constitution. No society can survive in a Constitutional vacuum where fundamental rights of the people are not guaranteed or protected. Restrictions by the State functionaries on the freedoms of the people are open and subject to Judicial Review, which tests the restrictions so imposed upon the bar of constitutionality.

He however said, under no circumstances should it be assumed that Rights granted under the Constitution are absolute as they remain subject to reasonable qualification and reasonable restrictions.

“Rights and Duties are like two sides of the coin; one cannot exist without the other. It should be borne in mind that rights are to be exercised keeping in view the corresponding duties” he elaborated.

The Chief Justice said it is the task of the judiciary to ensure that rights in a democratic society are balanced with counter-imposed duties. Judiciary has to play a progressive role in the creation of such a peaceful society by endeavoring to promote adherence to the Constitution, he added.

 

He said as the final arbiter of the law, the Supreme Court is charged with ensuring for the people the promise of justice under the law and thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution. The unique position of the Supreme Court stems, in large part, from the deep commitment of our nation to the Rule of Law and to a Constitutional government. He said the Supreme Court has demonstrated its determination to preserve and protect our written Constitution, thereby protecting and promoting democracy and good governance in Pakistan.

 

Justice Nasir ul Mulk elaborated that a path which deviates from Constitutionalism regresses into an age of apathy, where no Rule of Law exists. As a democratic society, it is incumbent upon all citizens to collectively promote respect for and obedience to the Constitution. The various facets of justice such as economic, political and social are correlated to the progress of Constitutionalism in our country, he said.

 

He agreed that painful delays are faced by litigants due to the twin crisis of “backlog” and “delays” existing at the Supreme Court and other levels of the judicial hierarchy. This judicial year started with a carryover case balance of 19.932 cases, a total of 17, 491 new cases were instituted in the Supreme Court, out of which 13,872 have been disposed. However, due to the carry over backlog of cases from the previous years, the balance of pending cases before us is a colossal 22,089.

 

He assured that they are cognizant of their responsibilities to reduce the backlog and are strenuously working towards that goal. He hoped that by Summer of 2015 the backlog of criminal cases would be completely wiped out.

 

The Chief Justice said the backlog of cases in Peshawar and Quetta registries of the Supreme Court have piled up because no regular benches have been constituted there for quite some time. At Peshawar we had a carryover balance of 2171 cases and the net pendency at the end of the year is 2, 801. While at Quetta, the carry over balance was 641 and at the end of year 1, 027 cases remain pending. He said this pressing issue has been duly noted and we have planned to constitute benches in both Peshawar and Quetta registries shortly.

 

He said the role of the learned bar in preserving the Constitution and protecting the rights of the people is indispensable. He reemphasized the role of bar as an integral part of the justice delivery mechanism and asked it to help the judiciary eliminate the scourge of backlog and pendency.

He asked the Judges to remain vigilant in protecting both the text and spirit of the Constitution, particularly the fundamental rights granted to the people of Pakistan regardless of race, caste, creed, religion or any social difference.

Chief Justice Nasir ul Mulk said they are endeavoring to deliver inexpensive, speedy and impartial justice to fulfill the trust reposed by people of Pakistan in the judiciary. He said Rule of Law can only prevail in our country, when judiciary remains faithful to the dictates of the Constitution. He asked the brother Judges to renew their pledge to the same principles as they embark on the journey of another judicial year.

He thanked former Chief Justices Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and Tasadduq Hussain Jillani who retired during the past judicial year for their legal acumen and services to the cause of justice and upholding of the Constitution.INP

 

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