Address of the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
Islamabad: I am grateful to the members of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association for providing me an opportunity to address on this historic occasion of Oath Taking Ceremony. It not only shows your warmth and friendliness but is also reflection of your respect, faith and confidence. Your contribution for strengthen the judiciary is well known but it is very important that you should strive to keep alive the values which gives strength to the judicial institutions.
The lawyers not only have professional role but also duty towards the citizens so as to create a culture of rule of law which is the foundation of democracy. In Pakistan we follow the adversarial system of adjudication where the litigant parties have to prove their case. The responsibility of lawyer has increased many fold in our society where there is lack of education, awareness and financial resources to hire a counsel in order to protect their legal rights.
Mr. Justice Michael Kirby, President, Court of appeals, New South Wales in his article on “The Judiciary and the Rule of Law” said and I quote: “ It is the fearless support of the judicial independence by the Bar that gives hope in the future for the supremacy of the Constitution and the Rule of Law”.
It will not be out of place to mention here that in our legal history the lawyers individually started the struggle for the rule of law and independence of judiciary, Bars had not only supported such an individual efforts but by collective actions through Bar Associations challenged many unconstitutional and illegal acts. I would just mention here few important cases from the judicial history e.g. Asma Jilani vs Government of the Punjab,Sharif Faridi vs. The Government of Pakistan,Al-Jihad Trust vs. Federation of Pakistan ,Zafar Ali Shah vs. Chief of Army Staff etc and last but not the least, the representatives of Sindh High Court Bar Association in the case of Sindh High Court Bar Association vs. Federation of Pakistan,which highlight the role of lawyers and Bar Associations for the cause of rule of law and independence of judiciary:
The cooperation between Bench and the Bar is asine quo non for smooth judicial operations at various hierarchies. Therefore, the Bench and Bar being the wheels of the same chariot of justice should constantly endeavour individually and collectively to enhance the prestige of the judicial organ.
The lawyers community lead a historic movement for the maintenance of rule of law, independence of judiciary and the restoration of 1973 Constitution in its real form and spirit. The Lawyer’ Movement played pivotal role, in collaboration with the independent media and civil society. Indeed this success has brought the lawyers to face the new challenges. Now it is responsibility to respond the aspirations of citizens of the country in delivering quick and inexpensive justice.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Since most of you practice at the district courts which are also euphemistically called the “lower courts”, I must clarify here that the lower courts are not to be treated as lower in the literal sense of the word. Actually these are the courts which form the very backbone of the judicial infrastructure of the country. These are courts where the actual trials are held. Whereas, the role of the superior or the appellate courts only rectify any short comings or mistakes of the judgments of these trial courts. Thus, if the lower courts or trial courts function in professional manner and both the Bench and the Bar work with professionalism and ethical commitments most of the complaints of the litigant community will be addressed down there. It will have a salutary effect on the working of the superior courts as less and less cases for appeals would be filed. This will further increase and enhance the quality of judgments of the superior courts as well. Thus, it is in the interest of both the Bench and the Bar and indeed in the entire judicial system of the country to provide an environment based on mutual interest and respect fostering a culture of credibility ensuring substantial justice be meted out at the entire satisfaction of the litigant public.
As we all know that the Islamabad High Court had ceased to function vide Judgment of Sindh Court Bar Association wherein the amendment in the relevant Article of the Constitution was annulled. Indeed, the establishment of High Court or a Federal Court of Islamabad Capital Territory was an act, which could have been done under in accordance with the Constitution. It could also tend to advance or promote good of the people, but unfortunately, it was mixed up with the unconstitutional, illegal, vide ab initio and malafide acts.
However it was left open for the parliament to take steps to establish such a court in accordance with the Constitution and the law.On these recommendations the Islamabad High Court was again established making necessary amendments in the Constitution. I am sure that the newly established Islamabad High Court under the competent leadership of its learned Chief Justice Mr. Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman will meet the aspirations of the people in the dispensation of justice. You are lucky enough that to have all the Courts in a single city right from the District Court to the Supreme Court. This advantageous position bears greater responsibility. You being advocates of the capital of the country are like protagonist in the legal fraternity. Your leading role would be idealized by the rest.
It is also the benchmark determining the respect which is received by both the Bench and the Bar from the public. If the relationship is based on mutual respect and harmony, it will not only increase the output of justice system but will also add to the credibility of the institution as well.
Before parting I would again emphasize that you people should uphold the cause of Constitution and Rule of Law, which guarantees fair and equal treatment, irrespective of their status and thus promotes human values for the welfare of the citizens. It is thus our duty to protect the democratic values.
For more information, contact:
Shahid Hussain Kamboyo
Public Relations Officer
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 920 4184
Fax: +9251 920 1001