Lahore: Punjab Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Rana Sana Ullah Khan has said that Justice by everyone in every sphere of life is the fundamental key to success and prosperity of a nation. All the segments of society must function in a manner as to strengthen the democratic system and promote the ends of justice in the larger interest of the people.
He was presiding over a seminar on Public Interest Litigation: Scope, limitations and Reforms at Aiwan-e-Iqbal here today. The seminar was organized by Supreme Court Bar Association. Despite Mian Israr-ul-Haq, President Supreme Court Bar Association and Javed Iqbal Raja, Secretary SCBA members of the Executive Committee were also present on this occasion.
Rana Sana Ullah Khan said that we will have to strive and strive very hard to institute a system based on socio-economic justice and fair play. He said that Bench and Bar are two important components of the same institution. Both of them have to make concerted efforts towards achieving the cherished goals which they symbolize. He said that in fact, the legal community has rendered invaluable services towards the promotion of democracy, independence of judiciary and protection of human rights. He said that an effective and purposeful legal education is necessary for provision of justice. It is also necessary to use the law as an instrument of development and social change. Rana Sana Ullah Khan said that Punjab Government welcomes the role of the Pakistan Bar Council as guardian of legal education in the Country. However, a lot is still to be done to improve in this regard. He said that the government is cognizant of the difficulties of the Bar Associations in the Punjab. Despite severe financial constraints, the government has supporting the Bars over the last few years in the form of grants and IT equipments to all the Bar Associations in the Punjab.
In his speech,Chief Justice Lahore High Court, Mr. Justice Umar Ata Bandial has said that old cases i.e. filed before in 2008 courts of the province are a stigma on the face of judiciary and these cases must see light of the day as soon as possible.
Hon’ble Chief Justice was addressing a seminar on Public Interest Litigation (PIL); Scope, Limitations and Reforms organized by the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan at Awan-e-Iqbal. Hon’ble Chief Justice said that these cases be decided on merit in line with the constitution and law but should not be disposed off merely on technical grounds. Hon’ble Chief Justice said that he is mindful of the reality that justice rushed is justice crushed and is getting reports of decided cases on daily bases and are monitored effectively. He appreciated the role of Bar in providing assistance for clearance of the huge backlog of such cases and asked the judiciary to always keep the lawyers on board while fixing hearing of cases and no inconvenience be caused to the lawyers community.
Hon’ble CJ said that judiciary is a living, dynamic and responding institution having faith in self corrective mechanism and appealed the advocates community to continue lending a helping a hand with the judiciary in this noble task of providing relief to the poor litigants. CJ said that some institutions are self active and some others are less active and ineffective. Therefore, PIL is a tool to provide help to poor people to get their rights as well to do ones can engage good lawyers. He said the substitute name of PIL is accountability. PIL is not to insult and embarrass anyone but to ensure rights enshrined under constitution to the downtrodden. Judiciary is committed to upholding the constitution and is much more accountable itself than other institutions as it has inbuilt mechanism of self accountability and self correction. Our judgments are challengeable at higher forum, CJ maintained.
Hon’ble CJ said that judiciary had to switch over to PIL because our institutions have been weakened. There is hardly need for PIL in western countries as their institutions are stable. Our institutions at the time of independence were much more stronger and viable. Hon’ble CJ also cited the example of Education, Railway and Irrigation system renowned throughout the world when our engineers use to develop own infrastructure but alas! today our engineers have to rely on World Bank experts even for digging a canal.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Justice Abdul Sattar Asghar, Judge Lahore High Court, requested the Supreme Court to add appropriate rules of procedure to enhance the utility of PIL. Advocate General Punjab, Mr. Ashtar Ausaf said that PIL should be introduced at preliminary courts and a mechanism for judicial restraint should be evolved. Mr. Ali Zafar, an eminent lawyer, put forward numerous resolutions for regulating the PIL. Mrs. Asma Jahangir, former President SCBA, said that PIL jurisdiction should only be invoked for the less fortunate people. Chief Justice Supreme Court of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Mr. Justice Azam Khan appreciated the PIL by Supreme Court of Pakistan and said that Azad Jammu & Kashmir Supreme Court has also decided a number of such cases and there was a need to discourage frivolous litigation. President SCBA, Mian Israr ul Haq also applauded the role of judiciary for taking up Public Interest Litigation.