Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on Friday said that expeditious and inexpensive dispensation of justice is the first priority of judiciary and that's why efforts are being made to improve the performance of justice sector institutions.

“Judiciary must be characterised by equality, fairness and integrity in its objective of dispensing justice, as its work is a critical element in the good governance of a state,” said the chief justice of the apex court while addressing the participants at the inaugural session of a three-day International Judicial Conference here at the Supreme Court.

He said nevertheless, every system has potential for reforms and improvement to keep pace with the changing times and emerging realities.

“This is done partly through the process of exchanging views, sharing ideas and learning from each other's experiences. We are mindful of this process and for this reason all stakeholders of justice sector are regularly taken on board either through Judicial Conferences or by taking up their suggestions in the meetings of National Judicial

“I am confident that this conference will provide a platform to all stakeholders of the justice sector to review, debate and resolve issues being faced in the administration of justice in the light of their rich knowledge and experiences”, the CJP said.

During his address, the CJ also mentioned the unfortunate unconstitutional mishaps of our history. He said since 1953 till November 3, 2007, time and again the constitution was abrogated in the name of martial law or proclamation of emergency.

He said except for 1972, in Asma Jillani's case, the courts generally validated the unconstitutional actions of a usurper on technical grounds or point of facts.

However, he said the judiciary, on November 3, 2007 passed a restraining order against the November 3, 2007 emergency and ensured the enforcement of the Constitution and the rule of law in the country by delivering a 14-member bench judgment on July 31, 2009. He said the judges, who had taken oath in violation of restraint order, were removed.

Besides, he said, the role of Parliament was appreciable for not endorsing the November 3, 2007 extra-constitutional actions of a former dictator. He said it was for the first time, in the history of our beloved country that the chosen representative of the people, who took their offices as a result of election of February 18, 2008 have, commendably, stayed their hands off and have not sanctified the unconstitutional acts.

He said the apex court has not only imposed restriction on the dictators but members of the judiciary have also been restrained from providing protection to the unconstitutional acts of the usurpers by taking oath under any unconstitutional instrument.

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