LAHORE – Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali has said that courts are completely independent at every level and they are not under any kind of pressure.

Addressing the concluding ceremony in connection with sesquicentennial celebrations of the Lahore High Court (LHC) here on Saturday, he said that the judicial system did not meant for making decisions but for providing justice.

He said that decisions could not be made for appeasing anyone, or under pressure from the media. “Article 10A provides complete guidance in this regard,” he added.

He appreciated services of the LHC for provision of justice and said that it produced great judges including Justice (R) Abdul Rasheed, Justice (R) AR Cornelius, Justice (R) Javed Iqbal to the incumbent judges of the apex court. He said that the services of these judges could not be forgotten.

The chief justice said that such ceremonies were not formal but provide an opportunity to understand the challenges and do better planning for future. He said that such ceremonies provide an opportunity to the bar and bench for sitting together and resolving the issues, which ultimately benefit the public.

He said that for smooth running of the government affairs, the principle of distribution of powers had been adopted in the constitution. He said that a system of checks and balances had been created amongst the institutions through distribution of powers, which was the basis of democracy.

He said that no institution was allowed to cross its limits and interfere in the affairs of other institutions; therefore, no institution could command an absolute power, which was a basic condition for the rule of law.

However, the judiciary was empowered to review the laws and actions of the parliament and the administration, respectively. If it was against the constitution or fundamental rights, then the courts set aside it, he added.

He said that the judiciary always tried to make minimum use of its powers and pass the orders in the cases of sheer violation of the Constitution or fundamental rights.

The chief justice said that it was vital for prosperity and financial progress in society that the rule of law and good governance are ensured. However, it was regrettable that sayings of the Quaid-e-Azam had been forgotten, who had said that it was the topmost priority of the government to remove injustice, corruption, and other evils from the country to ensure peace and protection of people’s rights.

He said that if other institutions get failed then courts had to perform dual responsibilities. He said that the courts had to decide cases between the parties, on the one hand and take action for protection of fundamental rights on the other.

He said that the LHC always performed its constitutional and legal responsibilities in resolution of disputes among people and protection of fundamental rights.

Chief Justice-designate, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, said that it was our duty to decide the matters in accordance with the law. A judge has to decide a case in accordance with the law and this is a mandate given to him in the constitution, he added. “We do not have unrestricted powers to decide matters,” he added.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah thanked all the participants and said that it was the right time to discuss and decide on the future course of action and strengthen the institution. He emphasised the need for adopting collective thought, adding that the institutions should be given preference instead of individuals.

He said that the accountability was most important to take the institution forward and it could not be compromised.

He further emphasised pursuance of merit in the institution.

Apex court judges including Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Amir Hani Muslim, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, LHC Judges, Chief Justice Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Chief Justice Gilgit Baltistan Appellate Court, Chief Justice Federal Shariat Court Sheikh Najam-ul-Hassan, Balochistan High Court Judge Justice Yahya Khan Afridi, former president Rafique Tarar, former CJ Irshad Hassan Khan, former CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, former CJ Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, former LHC CJ Khalil-ur-Rehman Khan, former LHC CJ Syed Zahid Hussain, former LHC CJ Syed Jamshaid Ali Shah, Governor Punjab Rafique Rajwana, former Punjab governor Sardar Latif Khosa, Pakistan Bar Council representatives, Punjab Bar Council representatives, Lahore High Court Bar representatives, district bars’ representatives, tehsil bars’ representatives, lawyers and a large number of delegations from colleges attended the ceremony.

Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf, Advocate General Punjab Shakeel-ur-Rehman Khan, Lahore High Court Bar President Rana Zia Abdur Rehman, Justice (R) Nasira Javed Iqbal, former president Supreme Court Bar Association Syed Ali Zafar, District and Sessions Judge Lahore Nazir Ahmad Gujana, Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board Dr Umar Saif, Prof Yaqoob Bangish, LUMS Dean Martin Lau, Advocate Salman Akram Raja, Australian law expert Dr Livingston Armatage, Fouzia Waqar and additional registrar Lahore High Court Abdul Nasir addressed the ceremony. – APP