Islamabad, December 22, 2012 (PPI-OT): It is a matter of great pleasure for me to formally congratulate and welcome the newly enrolled lawyers today who are stepping into the arena of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The roll signing ceremony is an occasion of solemn affirmation by the Supreme Court advocates that they will carry their struggle for standing up for justice and fair play in all cases and all circumstances.
Becoming an advocate of the Supreme Court is a unique honour as it is the highest legal institution at national level, and its members carry with them the utmost responsibility to defend the interest of their clients and secure justice for them and also serve the downtrodden and vulnerable classes of society.
I am hopeful that the advocates will continue to act as a bulwark against the extra-constitutional interruptions and continue to stand up for rule of law and remove hurdles in the way of free and fair dispensation of justice in Pakistan.
In the democratic set up of Pakistan, every institution has to recognize and respect constitutional norms. The three main organs of the State i.e. the judiciary, executive and the legislature, though all powerful in their respective domains, cannot transcend beyond their constitutional circumference through abuse of authority.
The success and efficacy of a democratic system inter alia depends on the independence of judiciary which cannot be ensured until and unless all the State institutions work within the constitutional framework. The judiciary being the custodian of the Constitution has been specifically equipped with the power of judicial review to check the arbitrary exercise of power by any person or institution.
In the present state of affairs in Pakistan, the judiciary is, at times, criticized for intermeddling in the routine affairs of the State. However, in reality the judiciary has never tried to assume the role of the Executive or the Legislature. Rather it respects the integrity and independence of every other institution. It has always played its part within the parameters of its constitutional domain.
The role of judiciary is not that of an opposition to the Legislature or the Executive, however, in cases of unauthorized actions in utter violation of constitutional norms, the judiciary has to become responsive through exercise of judicial review.
The judiciary has the constitutional mandate to annul any act, whether it being an act of Parliament or action taken by a State functionary that transgresses the constitutional limits. With the passage of time the people have become more assertive in the enforcement of their legal rights and checking the illegal or mollified actions of the Executive. Judiciary after its restoration in 2009 has emerged not only as a bastion of justice but also a catalyst of societal reformation to guide the nation on the path of constitutionalism.
It has played a major role in bringing good governance in all State’s institution through upholding the rule of law and curbing social ills by responding efficiently, fearlessly, promptly and effectively. The role of judiciary in the democratic governance of Pakistan is more of a check against constitutional transgressions than just an adjudicator in settling bilateral quarrels and disputes.
A strengthened and independent judicial system plays assertive and decisive role for the promotion of rule of law which is a basic substance of democracy and necessitates the supremacy of constitution, equality before law and equal protection of law.
It is the statutory and constitutional responsibility of judiciary to safeguard democracy from being distorted and disrupted by state elements for their vested interests. Judiciary has a definite role to play for effective administration of justice for the establishment of a just society, based on respect for law. I feel privileged that the Pakistani judicial system is the strongest backer of democracy which enjoys full confidence and faith of legal fraternity, other institutions, media as well as public at large.
The Supreme Court being at the apex of judicial hierarchy in Pakistan and as final arbiter of constitutional and legal controversies has endeavoured to bring legal and judicial reformation through prudent interpretation of laws in various landmark judgments and formulation of judicial policies.
The national Judicial Policy revised from time to time, in consultation with all the stakeholders at national and international level sets out guidelines for the judges and lawyers for prompt and fair dispensation of justice in Pakistan. It is now the duty of the lawyers to follow them and facilitate the courts in securing justice at the grass root level. The hard work and efficient performance of Courts have strengthened public trust in the justice system of Pakistan and more and more people are approaching the Courts for resolution of their disputes and redressed of grievances.
The Judiciary as an institution does not comprise only of judges or presiding officers of the courts; rather the prosecutors, practitioners and the lawyers are all integral part of the same. The judges, prosecutors and the lawyers play special roles in ensuring peace and stability in a society. The role of lawyers is more important as they can work freely and without fear of reprisals. Their role is pivotal in defending human rights and fundamental freedoms at all times. In egalitarian societies, lawyers surely perform more important role as compared to the other professionals.
They act as guardians of the rule of law. Their prudence, knowledge and integrity are such traits which could stimulate the social reformation process. The lawyers community within a State is a strong and unified force armed with legal weapons and not lethal weapons. Lawyers play a crucial role for bringing legal reformation in any polity. The lawyers’ movement of Pakistan in post-emergency scenario of 2007 is a glaring instance of the same. It was the collective voice of nation articulated through lawyers that led to the restoration of judiciary in 2009 and set a road map for democratic governance and political stability in Pakistan.
In legal profession, the success of a lawyer depends upon his hard work, good verbal and written expression, analytical approach, and research oriented perception, propriety of professional activities and off course strict adherence to the rules of legal ethics. The rules of legal ethics prevalent in the federal as well as provincial bar councils are infact the rules of business. These rules define proper conduct for legal professional. Lawyers are expected to demonstrate respect for the legal system and those who serve it including the judges, lawyers, prosecutors and other officials. Lawyers are also expected to use legal procedures only for legitimate purposes.
The system of delivery of justice in Pakistan is faced with various challenges including complex legal procedures, out-dated laws, delays, unnecessary costs, high court fees and corruption. Corruption being most significant of them is impinging upon the process of fair dispensation of justice No matter how much prudence is poured in analyzing the problems, complete and instant cure is very unlikely to be achieved. However, adherence to the high standards of impartiality, integrity and accountability can at least mitigate opportunities for corruption.
The Bench and Bar with their joint liaison can evaluate and detect the various forms and actors of corruption so as to devise a well designed monitoring plan in this respect. I am hopeful that the lawyers will join hands with the judiciary in order to cleanse justice sector from corrupt practices.
At the end I would like to again formally welcome you as the learned lawyers of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. I hope you will continue to practice law with passion and earn respect for yourself and your institution of judiciary. May Almighty Allah Bless you
For more information, contact:
Shahid Hussain Kamboyo
Public Relations Officer
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 920 4184
Fax: +9251 920 1001