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Judges should give decision on basis of Law, urges CJ Nisar

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Saqib Nisar on Saturday urged upon judges of the superior and lower judiciary to hand down judgment within the limits of law.

“It is responsibility of judges to give decisions solely on the basis of law,” he said while talking to media in a rare media talk by any Chief Justice of the country.

“We are not legislature that’s why we can’t do legislation. In a democracy it’s very important that we may not interfere in the work supposed to be done by others,” Chief justice said.

“To make law and implement is the job of legislature, we should try to give justice on time,” he said stressing that the judicial system in the country needed a major overhaul.

Chief Justice said that many old laws, including that of colonial era, have not been amended or updated, terming it one of the hurdles in ensuring a healthy justice system.

“We accept the supremacy of the Parliament, and it is very important in a democracy that institutions do not encroach upon each others’ jurisdiction. But has the parliament updated these laws. This is a question I can’t answer,” he said.

He said that the judiciary is often blamed for delay in cases but there is more to the issue.

For instance, the CJP said the list of pending cases include those in which the person booked is not guilty of any crime. He added that people spend years in jail but when the case is brought to the court it turns out the person concerned is innocent.

The judiciary is unfortunately blamed for delay in proceeding on cases, the CJP said. “[But] I will accept that this is our duty and we have to do this.”

However, the CJP said in certain cases there is also a need to improve the law, which the authorities concerned should focus on.

“We cannot make a law,” the CJP said. “This is our quality that we do not cross our jurisdiction.”

Judges, whether of the apex court or lower courts, have a lot of cases pending before them, which makes it extremely difficult to resolve them on time.

Speaking about judicial reforms, Justice Nisar said that judiciary in Punjab has seen the best reforms in the country, and has used technology and better organization to reduce the frequency of pending cases.

During the previous hearing of the case, CJP had remarked that “we are not fond of judicial activism in any way. But we will take action on negligence of duty at every cost. We are aware of our powers and we will not go beyond them.”

While highlighting the need for judicial system reform, Chief Justice (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday also urged the chief justices of of the five high courts to ensure that they abide strictly by the law when passing a decision.

Acknowledging criticism that the progress of cases in Pakistan’s judicial system is extremely slow, the CJP also stressed the need for courts to hold speedy trials instead of adjourning cases indefinitely.

Commending improvements in Punjab’s judicial system, which has introduced information technology to aid the legal system and keep track of cases that are registered in courts to ensure that all cases are dealt with as quickly as possible, he said perhaps the other provinces need to take note of how to improve the lives of the people.

Justice Nisar called for reforms in the legal system, saying that the laws that were created centuries ago by the British rulers of the subcontinent cannot be applied anymore. He urged lawmakers to consider bringing reforms in the legal system. However, he stressed that, despite shortcomings in the legal system, judges must not “encroach upon” lawmakers’ jurisdiction and pass verdicts that are in accordance with the law.

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