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It’s not judiciary’s task to run govt, says Naek

January 12, 2013

Law Minister Farooq H Naek. — File photo by APP

KARACHI: Law Minister Farooq H. Naek said on Saturday that regardless of the nobility of objective, it was not for judges to run the government and despite its widening sphere of influence, the “judiciary must not overwhelm itself”.

Speaking at an oath-taking ceremony of the Karachi Bar Association, he said judiciary should not overburden itself by micro-managing affairs of the executive or legislature.

“If it does so, it will inevitably enter the minefields of doctrines such as ‘law of necessity’. Thus, judiciary needs to recognise its own role and strike a balance and equilibrium.”

The law minister said elected representatives were mandated under the Constitution to run the government and thwarting of any initiative by people’s representatives would amount to usurpation of their powers and infringement of the Constitution.

Farooq Naek said the parliament, independent judiciary and vibrant media should join hands so that democracy could flourish and all three pillars of the state must function in their own constitutional domain.

“We are against all forms and manifestations of terrorism and committed to extending full support in the international fight to combat it, but Pakistan will not allow foreign troops to operate in its territory because it is the sole prerogative of Pakistani armed forces,” he said.

He said the government was paying attention to protection of human rights and it had also become a basic obligation of the bench and bar to safeguard them.

The law minister said lawyers should not take all issues to the Supreme Court because the subordinate judiciary was also there to discharge its obligations.

He requested the chief justice of the Sindh High Court for speedy trial of murder cases and hearing of appeals of prisoners who were in death cells, saying over 4,000 such trials and 40 appeals were pending in the province. The minister also suggested setting up of night courts to clear the backlog.

He announced that the government would provide Rs20 million and two buses to the KBA.

SHC Chief Justice Mushir Alam said the judiciary had a parental role and whenever any institution or person overstepped or misused authority, it was its constitutional duty to look into it.

He said it was the duty of public representatives to run the affairs of state, but the judiciary had to intervene when there was any breach of trust. The judiciary was functioning within its constitutional domain and if anybody had reservations over the powers and functions of courts, he might amend the Constitution, he said.

The chief justice said he was also in favour of right of appeal in public interest litigation, but it was the government’s responsibility to amend the law for this purpose.

He said the judiciary had no source of income and under Article 37 of the Constitution the government must provide required financial assistance to it.

He also urged the government to provide adequate land for a judicial complex.

The SHC chief justice said the national judicial policy had been made in the interest of the public and recommendations might be given to improve it.

Justice Mushir Alam called upon lawyers to cooperate in disposing of old cases.  KBA president Naeem Qureshi and general secretary Kashif Hanif also spoke on the occasion.