No one can claim supremacy over and above law: Chief justice

CJ says parliament cannot legislate any law repugnant to Constitution and Islam.


June 23, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Less than a week after the democratically elected prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was sent home on charges of contempt, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked that the law applies to everyone, regardless of their status, power, caste, creed or religion and above all, no one can claim supremacy over and above the law.     

He was talking to a 50-member delegation of Youth Parliament accompanied by Chairman Steering Committee SM Zafar, member Wazir Ahmed Jogezai, former deputy speaker National Assembly and officers of Youth Parliament Secretariat.

“Where any question of public importance arises with reference to the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights ensured under the Constitution of Pakistan, then the Supreme Court has the power to make any appropriate order for the enforcement of these rights,” the chief justice asserted.

He said that the apex court, in its successive judgments has stressed the need for adherence to the law and the Constitution and compliance with the rule of law and due process requirement to establish a system of civilised governance in the country.

SC can review laws repugnant to Constitution

The chief justice further said that the Parliament is required to formulate laws in accordance with the Constitution for the betterment of the public at large so that these laws can be made applicable. He added that the Parliament cannot legislate any law repugnant to the Constitution and against the injunctions of Islam or contrary to fundamental laws.

“If such a law is promulgated, then the Supreme Court under its power of Judicial Review can review it. The underlying object of judicial review is to check the abuse of power by the public functionaries and to ensure just and fair treatment to the citizens in accordance with the law and constitutional norms.”

Referring vaguely to the much talked about clash of institutions, the chief justice said 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.

He said the Supreme Court, to the exclusion of any other court, has the jurisdiction to pronounce declaratory judgments in any dispute between the Federal Government and a provincial government or between any two or more provincial governments under Act 184(1).

The chief justice also advised members of the Youth Parliament to study basic features of our Constitution and how the document has been interpreted by the courts to acquaint themselves with the constitutional history and the role of superior courts in protecting the fundamental rights and the constitutional development of Pakistan.

Senator SM Zafar said that the Youth Parliament is willing to bring about change if they are given a chance.

He further pointed out that in Pakistan, education has not been taken care of because if it had been properly taken care of, the country would have flourished.

The chief justice presented the Supreme Court Annual Report to the Youth Parliament which provides information on the workings of the Supreme Court.

The delegation also presented a shield to the chief justice.

Earlier, Dr Faqir Hussain, Registrar Supreme Court of Pakistan, welcomed the Youth Parliament to visit the Supreme Court.

COMMENTS (39)

Raj - USA | 9 years ago | Reply Many are claiming that a person who has been convicted by the Court cannot hold the office of PM. Gillani, even if you hold him guilty, did not commit a criminal offense. He was sentenced for just few seconds, not even a minute. I believe that PM can be disqualified only if he is convicted of a serious criminal offense and not a very minor civil offense. Even otherwise, if he enjoys immunity of office, he cannot be convicted. The fact that he was sentenced for just a 32 seconds itself establishes that the offense is a very minor offense. The offense is so minor that it is less than even a very minor traffic offense, like jumping a traffic signal. The offense is so minor for which even a small ranking politician cannot be barred from holding his elected office. This is the law everywhere in the World, particularly Democratic World.
naeem khan Manhatan,Ks | 9 years ago | Reply I see some of these staunch PPP sympathizers are spewing some hateful comments. The CJ is right in saying if any law is passed by the NA and is not aligned with the Constitution, it will be reviewed and thrown out if necessary. At present US Supreme Court is reviewing Obama's health care which was passed by the House and the Senate and it is very possible that some of it could be declared unconstitutional like making it mandatory for every US citizen to have health insurance. Although it is considered good law but may not pass the constitutional test. Gilani was sacked because he refused to obey the Supreme Court decision and orders and committed contempt of court.
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