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Speech of Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan at the oath taking ceremony of District Bar Association, Karachi

Islamabad:

Brother Judges of the Supreme Court
Chief justice and judges of high court;
President, Karachi district bar association;
Office bearers of district bar association;
Members of the bar;
Ladies and gentlemen!
Asalam o alaikum!

It gives me immense pleasure to be here at this very auspicious occasion when the newly elected body representing the Karachi Bar Association is to take oath of office. This oath taking ceremony is not a mere formality wherein people assemble and follow a set routine.

It is a sombre occasion where the bar representatives make an oath to adhere to the law, work for the welfare of their members and serve the litigant parties to grant them relief. It is also an occasion that reflects the strength and determination of the bar to continue to support the judiciary in the dispensation of justice. It further shows the vitality, growth and history of the institution of Bar in Pakistan.

The Bar which is composed of the lawyers who are the most aware section of the middle class of our country which has played a major role as a harbinger of change. The essence of this oath taking ceremony shows that the lawyer community in general is steeped in the time-tested traditions of rule of law, democracy and participatory system of self governance.

I am proud of the fact that various Bar bodies of the country starting from any far off Tehsil of Chitral to the level of Supreme Court Bar Association have been regularly holding elections in most transparent and fair manner consistently years after years.

This practice of holding of regular elections underlines the deep rooted democratic tradition of the lawyer’s body. It also sets worthy example to the rest of the country to follow suit and institutionalize democratic governance everywhere.

The oaths you are taking today are not just empty words. It’s your allegiance to the legal profession for promoting fair norms of justice and rule of law. I am hopeful that the newly elected body will work hard for legal reformation, strengthened democracy and prompt justice to the common man.

The judicial hierarchy of the country has got a broad spectrum as it starts from the court of a Magistrate and goes up to the level of apex Court. Every part of this hierarchy has to play a very significant role which has a direct bearing on the life of every individual as well as entire nation as a whole. The apex Court of the country is constitutionally bound to give judgements to the issues agitated before it under various jurisdictions.

These judgements have wider constitutional and national implications. However, the work of the judiciary at the district level is the one which directly affects the life of common individual citizens at the grassroots level. Therefore, in my humble estimation, it is our district judiciary where the battle for provision of relief to the people is lost or won in the eyes of the vast majority.

Therefore, it is the utmost responsibility of both the Bench and the Bar at the district level to pool up their maximum resources to provide most needed services to the litigant public. Thus, it is in our collective institutional interest that we should initiate all sorts of reforms to put our house in order and come up to the expectations which the people of Pakistan has attached with us.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

In any democratic setup the Judiciary has to act as an independent institution exercising jurisdiction within its constitutional domain. Similarly the Legislature and the Executive are also independent in their respective fields subject to the constitutional limitations. The Judiciary as a custodian of the Constitution has to check constitutional deviations and arbitrary exercise of power by other institutions so as to ensure rule of law and fair administration of justice.

In the present democratic setup Judiciary is trying to buttress democratic and parliamentary norms. It 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 legal or constitutional norms, the judiciary has to exercise its power of judicial review.

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 effective 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 legal reformation process.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

The National Judicial Policy (NJP) formulated and revised with the assistance of legal fraternity aimed at providing speedy justice at the grass root level. The proper implementation of the NJP standards by the courts with the cooperation of lawyers has reduced the pendency of old and frivolous litigation to a great extent.

Much has been done and much needs to be done, as the judicial system is still faced with the problems of corruption, protracted litigation and procedural flaws. Over times, notions change about what a legal system should deliver; therefore, the Supreme Court has always welcomed and appreciated the recommendations of the Bar Councils and legal experts in making the NJP more effective and upto date.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Corruption is a vice that is impinging upon the process of fair dispensation of justice by the judiciaries of developed as well as under developed countries. 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 minimize 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 of the Karachi Bar Association as well as of other Bar associations will join hands with the judiciary in order to cleanse the judicial and legal system from corrupt practices so as to provide timely access to fair and impartial judicial services.

Unnecessary adjournments and resulting delay in the disposal of cases are problems persisting in the judicial setup even after the introduction of procedural changes from time to time. Especially in civil litigation the parties have to wait for years to get their grievances redressed. Protracted litigation not only lowers the confidence of the parties in the judicial process but also overburdens them financially.

It also opens gates for further interlocutory applications and legal complexities. The judges as well as lawyers can overcome the evil of unnecessary delays in civil and criminal litigation by setting deadlines for completion of cases and enforcing those deadlines. The proper and sound case management can facilitate early disposition of cases and trials.

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 infect the rules of reason.

These rules define proper conduct for legal professionalism. Lawyers are expected to demonstrate respect for the legal system and those who serve it including the judges, co-lawyers, prosecutors and other officials. Lawyers are also expected to use legal procedures only for legitimate purposes and not as weapons to harass or intimidate any one or to lower the prestige of judiciary and legal profession.

In the end I would like to say that destiny of our institution is in our own hands. If we cooperate with each other and ensure that the very purpose for which we have been created is fulfilled we stand a good chance of being vindicated in the eyes of public.

I would like to thank again the organizers for inviting me over. I hope and pray that these established traditions of our institution flourish in future and may continue to serve our nation in a most prolific and consistent manner.

For more information, contact:
Shahid Hussain Kamboyo
Public Relations Officer
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 920 4184
Fax: +9251 920 1001
Email: pro_scp@yahoo.com

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