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SC empowered to intervene in public matters, says CJ

Updated February 27, 2014
Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani. — File photo
Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani. — File photo

KARACHI: Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani said on Wednesday that the Supreme Court was given power in the Constitution to take up any matter of public importance and “to issue any directive or order or decree for ‘doing complete justice’ in any case or matter pending before it”.

Speaking at a dinner held for him by the Sindh High Court Bar Association on the premises of the SHC, he said “to ensure that these orders are complied with, the Constitution commands that decision of this court on a question of law would be binding on all other courts in Pakistan and that all executive and judicial authorities throughout the country shall act in aid of the Supreme Court”.

Justice Jillani said the apex court had exercised suo motu jurisdiction to protect people’s liberty and their right to life. It took suo motu notice of the law and order situation in Karachi and Balochistan because it was “found that laws were not being enforced which led to serious violation of Article 9 of the Constitution. The court would never have interfered if the laws were being justly and fairly enforced”, he added.

The chief justice said that one of the most onerous functions of the judiciary in a constitutional democracy was to protect liberty and the due process of law. The suo motu notices were taken in the cases of alleged corruption “because there was a general perception that the state institutions concerned were delinquent in performing their duties under the law”.

He said that the judges could not sit as “timorous souls” when the mandatory provisions of the Constitution were either not complied with or disregarded. “In the absence of responsive and credible institutions of law enforcement, people tend to bring every cause, every grievance before the courts and in particular before the Supreme Court,” he added.

Justice Jillani said that by and large the apex court refrained from interfering in matters of public policy. “We believe that it is not the function of the court to get embroiled in politics or passion of the day. Our perception on such matters has been that the Constitution does not constitute us as Platonic guardians, nor does it vest in this court the authority to strike down laws because they do not meet our standards of desirable social police, wisdom or commonsense.”

He said that it required every individual and every institution of the state to play its role in confronting the challenges the nation was faced with.