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Supreme Court and elections

January 19, 2013

THE Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the constitution. In this sense it is superior to all other heads of institution, as well as to all individuals.

However, the constitution allows all pillars of the state and constitutional bodies to form their own laws for smooth running of the administration. The apex court can review these acts to ensure they do not conflict with any provision of the constitution.

The Supreme Court is also authorised to formulate its own judicial policy, rules and regulations. However, no one can oversee or criticise such a policy, and apparently there is no mechanism to oversee the Supreme Court’s policymaking. No one can be the judge of his own action — ‘right or wrong, good or bad’. The Supreme Court judges might be competent, honest, and trustworthy, but as human beings they too are prone to mistakes.

The superior judiciary is also subject to the constitution, but it seems to overstep lines envisaged in the constitution and encroach upon the jurisdiction of other heads of institution.

It is involved in fixing prices of commodities, promotions, postings and transfers of government servants, dubbing some as honest and others as incompetent, without any trial or fair process.

The Supreme Court sometimes tries to solve social issues outside its original function. It issued a directive to the chief election commissioner to prepare an electoral roll and re-define constituencies, and if the chief election commissioner conducts elections under the direction of the Supreme Court, its own constitutional independence is in danger and the slogan of free elections becomes meaningless.

The superior judiciary, being the final arbiter of the law and the constitution, stands at a high pedestal and one can expect it to show a greater responsibility with regard to the solution of the public problem, peace and prosperity, economy, crumbling security and the law and order problems.

Efficiency lies in averting an unpleasant event from happening rather than being wise in retrospect. Everyone is looking to the judiciary to act in a most fair, honest and neutral way to dispense justice, which is its primary duty.

If the judiciary assumes duties of the executive, I am reminded of Faiz ’s verse: Kisse vakil karein aur kisse munsifi chahein.


Delimitation in Karachi

THERE has been a lot of discussion on delimitation in Karachi.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement has opposed the delimitation process in Karachi and has demanded that if the delimitation is done in the metropolitan city, then it should also be done in the whole of the country.

The MQM leaders have said that delimitation of constituencies should be carried out after the census. A few days ago Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Rtd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim said that it was not possible to carry out delimitation of constituencies in Karachi.

According to a recent survey on delimitation, 41 per cent people were for delimitation in Karachi, 49 per cent were in favour of delimitation in the entire country, whereas 10 per cent were of the view that delimitation should not be done at this time.

As a common man, I think to single out Karachi is not right and if delimitation of constituencies is to be done, then it should be done in the entire country. But it looks that this exercise cannot be done before the general election.