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Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.—File Photo

KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said that Article 8 of the constitution empowers the Supreme Court to strike down any legislation which encroaches upon the basic rights of the citizens.

The chief justice said this while speaking at a ceremony for newly enrolled advocates on Saturday at the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry.

Referring to a misconception in the minds of people regarding supremacy of the parliament, he said that it is the constitution which expresses and embodies the will of the people.

He further said that the apex court was fully empowered to strike down any law which is in conflict with the constitution.

Moreover, he said that, even in the United Kingdom itself, the doctrine of supremacy of Parliament is now seen to be out of place. The chief justice further emphasized that it is time, after 65 years of Pakistan’s independence, that “we free ourselves from the shackles of obsequious intellectual servility to colonial paradigms and start adhering to our Constitution.”

“We should only examine our own Constitution to ensure that the will of the people prevails which is the very essence of a democratic system,” said the chief justice.

He said that we should only examine our own constitution to ensure that will of the people prevails which is the very essence of a democratic system.

The chief justice also emphasized the need for an independent judiciary in the country and said that only a free and independent judiciary could ensure that will of the people is enforced in its true spirit. Reference in this regard was made to Article 190 of the constitution which bounds all executive and judicial authorities to act in the aid of the Supreme Court.

We want supremacy of law and the Constitution in the country, said the chief justice, stressing that the constitution is to be followed, preserved and protected at all costs.