Law students participate in dialogue on judicial activism

Representatives of various law institutes attend roundtable at L'ecole

News Desk April 10, 2018
The students agreed that media hype should not be the cause of suo motu notices. STOCK IMAGE

Officer bearers of student bodies of law institutions in Sindh gathered at a roundtable organised by the Law Society of L'ecole for Advanced Studies to engage in discourse on global and national politics and legal issues.

The discussion, titled 'The Role of Judiciary and its Robust Judicial Activism in Pakistan's Historical and Present Context', was held on February 27 at L'ecole. Barrister Jahanzeb Awan was the event's guest of honour.

Students of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (Szabist), The Millennium University College (TMUC), Themis School of Law, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto University of Law (Szabul) and Indus College of Law participated in the event. Ahmed Khalid represented Szabist, Syed Asad Rizvi represented TMUC while Themis School was represented by Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Rida Agaria and Abdul Haseeb Qazi represented Szabul and Indus College respectively.

The discussion commenced in the afternoon by L'ecole Law Society President Khushbakht Shah. The theme of the first discussion was set by moderator Maarij Shabbir who questioned if the role of judiciary was defined under the Constitution and in case it was defined, whether the judiciary followed its constitutional role.

CJP takes a break on suo motu action

Students brought up several points regarding the dispensation of justice and accountability of judges. The participants quoted cases like those of Begum Nusrat Bhutto, Dosso and Asma Jahangir. They agreed that the judiciary should be held accountable and should take a much more rigid stance on constitutional matters.

Later, the dialogue shifted to the theme of judicial activism. It was debated whether the judicial activism was proving helpful for the state or whether it was weakening the supremacy of Parliament and other pillars of democracy.

The TMUC representative said illiteracy and lack of awareness were the biggest hurdles in the way of sustaining democracy in Pakistan. "Our people are not aware of the policies and they do not make informed decisions when choosing their leaders," Rizvi said.

Shah remarked the too many suo motu notices were detrimental to the parliamentary sovereignty and doctrine of the separation of powers. "The judiciary is dispensing justice and I am proud of it," the L'ecole law society president said, adding that it, however, seemed that a parallel government in the form of judiciary was being run.

The students agreed that media hype should not be the cause of suo motu notices. "Suo motu power should be used when fundamental rights of a citizen are infringed upon," Rizvi said.

The participants also discussed Article 62 of the Constitution, which read that elected representatives should be 'sadiq' and 'ameen'. A participant stressed the need for devising a proper system of accountability for public officeholders. It was also discussed whether or not the verdict in the Panama case would strengthen democracy in the country.

A few reforms were suggested during the conference, according to which judges should not try to reach unanimous decision. The students also called for proper remuneration to judges.

At the end of the dialogue, L'ecole Law Society Vice-President Ambarin Sawja invited Barrister Awan to address the students. The guest of honour, in his speech, gave the students an insight into the legal world. He mentioned how the elected representatives and holders of public office held a huge responsibility and must be held accountable. "Judicial overreach only occurs when the executive [cannot be reached]," said Barrister Awan.


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