While addressing a delegation of the Youth Parliament on Saturday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry made it clear that whenever an organ of the state misuses its powers, it becomes the judiciary’s prerogative to subject it to scrutiny.
“The Constitution is a document which states that every organ of the state enjoys complete institutional independence within its constitutional domain. However, any excess or misuse of power beyond that domain becomes the subject matter of judicial scrutiny,” the chief justice said.
Chief Justice Chaudhry claimed that the expectations Pakistanis had of parliament to address their needs could not be fulfilled in the past, due to the constant political and constitutional turmoil in the country. “From 1973 onwards, even though there have been active national assemblies and senates, political and constitutional turmoil has repeatedly interfered in parliament’s functions; therefore, the expectations of people attached with it have remained unfulfilled,” he added.
The chief justice also clarified parliament has the authority to legislate. However, it could not pass a law that is against the Constitution. “Parliament is required to pass laws in accordance with the Constitution for the betterment of the public at large so that they can be made applicable. I can assure you that they cannot approve a law that is against the Constitution, the principles of Islam and contrary to fundamental laws.” He went on to say that if such a law was promulgated, the Supreme Court had the authority to judicially review it.
He explained that the fundamental objective of the judicial review was to check the abuse of power by public functionaries, and ensuring just and fair treatment to the citizens in accordance with the law and constitutional norms.
Speaking on the fundamental rights of Pakistanis, Chief Justice Chaudhry stated that “where any question of negligence arises regarding the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights ensured by the Constitution of Pakistan, then the Supreme Court has the power to make any appropriate order for the enforcement of these rights.”
Published In The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2012.
More in PakistanIn power, Ashraf’s first meeting is on energy