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

Published: June 23, 2012
Email
CJ says law applies to everyone irrespective of status, power, caste, creed, religion. PHOTO: SANA

CJ says law applies to everyone irrespective of status, power, caste, creed, religion. PHOTO: SANA

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.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (39)

  • Nadir
    Jun 23, 2012 - 8:45PM

    Well Malik Riaz is obviously above the law, he has arrest warrants issued and the Islamabad police is protecting him!

    Recommend

  • Native Paki.
    Jun 23, 2012 - 8:53PM

    Being long time some one came in pakistan …. hope for best.

    Recommend

  • Amed
    Jun 23, 2012 - 8:56PM

    If Parliament is not above the law how can SC can make decision to allow dictators to make amendments into constitution? where in constitution it says that SC can disqualify elected PMs.Recommend

  • Shahid
    Jun 23, 2012 - 9:12PM

    All are equal but some are more equal in the eyes are of Pak (pure) judicary e.g. Sharifs cannot be touched as they helped in restoration of CJ. Asghar Khan case is being not being decided since last 15 years but PM case is decided within 5 days.

    Recommend

  • @plarkin
    Jun 23, 2012 - 9:25PM

    He added that the Parliament cannot legislate any law repugnant to the Constitution and against the injunctions of Islam or contrary to fundamental laws.

    This is outrageous. Religion should have no bearings on constitutional law, If we, as a country, could ever learn that Pakistan wouldn’t be the basket case it is.Recommend

  • Z
    Jun 23, 2012 - 9:27PM

    @Amed: Please get a clue about the constitution before you issue statements about it. A convicted criminal (which Gillani is) cannot be Prime Minister according to the constitution.

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Jun 23, 2012 - 9:31PM

    is there any LAW which addresses our basic need of electricity and inflation ?

    Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Jun 23, 2012 - 9:37PM

    “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.”

    Is this a joke? Say that to the Ahmadiya people, Aisa Bibi and Dr Afridi.

    Recommend

  • Jibran
    Jun 23, 2012 - 9:40PM

    What about the indemnity that the Parliament gave to Musharraf and the PCO judges?

    Recommend

  • shazomar
    Jun 23, 2012 - 9:50PM

    Well “amed” it does say ANY one who is covicted of a crime like elecetd glilani was, cannot continue to hold public office or be the PM.. ok SC can send criminals home!

    Recommend

  • Jpy
    Jun 23, 2012 - 10:19PM

    Same way super judges has no power to misinterprut the wordings of the constitution accouding to their whims & fancy. If they do then democracy will become judocracy

    Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jun 23, 2012 - 10:31PM

    Black coats and are above the law.

    Recommend

  • Adnan
    Jun 23, 2012 - 10:32PM

    What about him????!!!!

    Recommend

  • AS
    Jun 23, 2012 - 10:34PM

    In any civilized nation of the world or a remotely constitutional democracy, you sir would long have been a former chief justice.

    Recommend

  • Umer
    Jun 23, 2012 - 10:39PM

    @Nadir:

    Well Malik Riaz is obviously above the law, he has arrest warrants issued and the Islamabad police is protecting him!

    Malik Riaz came to SC several times in last few days why did SC not arrest him? Don’t
    blame Islamabad police if SC is not interested in arresting him. Recommend

  • Khurram Khalid
    Jun 23, 2012 - 10:44PM

    There were rumors that PPP will try to get an amendment passed from the assembly which will bar the SC from interpreting immunity clause of president adversely. Justice Chaudhary is daring the national assembly not to do it otherwise it will strike such amendment down.

    Recommend

  • Its (still) Econonmy Stupid
    Jun 23, 2012 - 11:14PM

    “Parliament cannot legislate any law repugnant to the Constitution and against the injunctions of Islam ” Does it mean that Secular constitution is ilegal and out of question?

    Recommend

  • AD
    Jun 23, 2012 - 11:14PM

    Right, but not wise words.

    Recommend

  • Zak
    Jun 23, 2012 - 11:15PM

    @Amed:
    Where in the constitution does it say the Supreme court can’t. By the way people saying it took only 5 days, you should know the CJ’s only critiques are the ones who are saying that why thu took so long and why they took years for the NRO case! It is not a ‘matter’ of 5 days but years of defiance by the PM. The common man should be happy that he an the primeminister have been put in the same basket and today no difference exists between a ‘peon’ and ‘PM’.

    Recommend

  • Truth be told
    Jun 23, 2012 - 11:30PM

    We thank God Almighty for having you where you are.

    Recommend

  • observer
    Jun 23, 2012 - 11:52PM

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

    And which Article of the Constitution or Islamic Law provides for COAS Presidents and PCO Chief Justices, PLEASE?

    Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jun 23, 2012 - 11:55PM

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

    There are millions of suppressed people in Pakistan who cannot buy law similar to rich and the mighty.

    The law is implement when a poor a caught stealing some thing to meet his end needs.

    But the rich and mighty who evade government taxes roam freely in the country without any hindrance.

    One cannot make the disqualification of former PM Gilani as precedent and bench mark to quote an example that the former PM was sent packing home for not writing a letter to Swiss Authorities.

    The day when an ordinary person will get justice then and there, one can say that justice prevail in the country.

    Recommend

  • elementary
    Jun 24, 2012 - 12:19AM

    @Amed: You are absolutely right.
    Unless PM commits a crime there is no way CJP can depose a sitting PM.If PM commits a crime however, then SC can and should disqualify,as no one is above law.

    Recommend

  • SM
    Jun 24, 2012 - 12:25AM

    Nobody is above law. This principle also applies on Iftikhar Chaudhry. Parliament can amend Constitution. Some checks need to be introduced to make sure Judiciary does not transgress its domain Recommend

  • Abdullah Khan
    Jun 24, 2012 - 1:02AM

    @Amed: If an elected PM commits murder what should the court do about that? Please reply

    Recommend

  • Abdullah Khan
    Jun 24, 2012 - 1:05AM

    @@plarkin: dude what he said is written in constitution which was prepared and passed by consensus. Moderates like ZA Butto were there. So why is it outragious for you?

    Recommend

  • Abdullah Khan
    Jun 24, 2012 - 1:09AM

    In Pakistan Law rules not the Justice. So lets pray someone comes and give us Justice.

    Recommend

  • aley
    Jun 24, 2012 - 2:09AM

    @Amed:
    @Z:
    Its not Amed but you better take a lesson in constitutional law Sir….

    Recommend

  • Harris
    Jun 24, 2012 - 2:32AM

    @@plarkin:
    my frnd if u havnt forgoten the idealogy of pakistan u wud havnt said that !!!

    Recommend

  • AJ
    Jun 24, 2012 - 2:37AM

    I agree with the CJ, but my question is what about people or institutions who think they are law and interpret and apply the law according to the law of neccasity. Give cover to military rule thus sanctioning breaking of law and constitution…accepting perks and promotions in the name of law….

    Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Jun 24, 2012 - 2:57AM

    What a joy to have someone who really cares for Pakistan and feels its spirit in his heart.

    @Parklin

    With all due respect, you sir/madam seem so ignorant of the constitution and the country that your views can be safely dismissed.

    Recommend

  • Ninja
    Jun 24, 2012 - 3:12AM

    @Abdullah Khan, religion is outrageous to atheists like @plarkin

    Recommend

  • Justice Prevail
    Jun 24, 2012 - 3:22AM

    Since when the Honurable Judges started explaining their judgment ,meeting public & appearing in press.
    Moreover when the judges started telling people what is in their mind on certain issues ??????????????
    Can any one highlight any country where judges are in news every other day

    Recommend

  • Saqibtahir
    Jun 24, 2012 - 5:11AM

    “@Amed: If an elected PM commits murder what should the court do about that? Please reply”

    Well, Supereme court has no role in this case except that of listening final appeal. In this hypothetical case a FIR will be registered and the PM will be tried by a Session judge. Still no court has authority to remove him from the post of PM, only parliament can unseat him.

    Recommend

  • Jun 24, 2012 - 7:18AM

    But he himself is not law. Where was his law when he validated Musharraf’s take over?

    Recommend

  • Jun 24, 2012 - 7:22AM

    @Abdullah Khan Different circumstances requires different point of views. When a PM commits crime as an individual there the different law will apply.

    Recommend

  • Jun 24, 2012 - 8:12AM

    judiciary is not above law and Constitution.

    Recommend

  • naeem khan Manhatan,Ks
    Jun 24, 2012 - 8:23AM

    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. Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jun 24, 2012 - 8:38AM

    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. Recommend

More in Pakistan