At the conclusion of the International Judicial Conference on Sunday, Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry urged the judiciary to exercise judicial restraint in order to avoid being perceived as encroaching upon the roles and functions of the coordinate branches of government.
Addressing the gathering at the Supreme Court auditorium, the CJ stressed that the judiciary’s primary duty lies in interpreting and implementing laws and not in governing society, which may come about only as an ancillary effect of its decisions.
“It is further recommended that the superior courts articulate a consistent and clearly defined doctrine of judicial review so that depending on the nature and context of the rights involved, relevant standards of review may be applied,” he added.
The CJ proposed a code of conduct be devised and strictly enforced for judicial officials. He suggested that in dealing with complex commercial issues, the judiciary utilise and rely on expert knowledge and opinion in order to reach a more informed verdict.
“In order to ensure inexpensive, expeditious justice and to improve the working of the judicial sector, the National Judicial Policy was formulated by National Judicial (Policymaking) Committee in consultation with judges, lawyers and professionals of other related agencies.”
The main features of the policy include the independence of the judiciary, eradication of corruption and reduction of the backlog at all levels of the judicial hierarchy, he added.
Calling for an urgent need to create additional posts, which should be promptly filled, Chief Justice Chaudhry said the strength of the appellate courts needed to be increased.
Declaring the conclusion to the formal proceedings of the International Judicial Conference 2012, he expressed gratitude to all the participants, especially the foreign delegates in attendance.
“No doubt, the justice delivery system not only in Pakistan, but the entire world over is confronted with the issues of pendency of cases and backlogs, and consequential delays in dispensation of justice.”
He said the conference provided a wonderful platform and a unique opportunity to the “prudent and judicious minds of the judicial and legal fraternities to sit together and come up with suggestions and solutions, which should be something close to panacea for all ills and difficulties afflicting the system of administration of justice.”
“The role of the judiciary like other organs of the state is crucial in achieving the dream of a peaceful and prosperous life on this planet. The role of lawyers in any society is very prominent. It is no exaggeration to say that lawyers have been at the forefront of every democratic, legal and constitutional movement,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2012.