Address by honourable Mr. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar Chief Justice of Pakistan at the full court reference
Islamabad, November 13, 2018 (PPI-OT): Brother Judges;
Mr. Anwar Mansoor Khan, learned Attorney General for Pakistan;
Mr. Kamran Murtaza, Vice Chairman, Pakistan Bar Council;
Mr. Amanullah Kanrani, President, Supreme Court Bar Association;
Members of the Bar;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
One of my personal favourite jurists of all time, Lord Denning, was famously known to be inclined towards the socially weaker party against the stronger, favouring the party that is wronged regardless of the strength or might of those who socially structure such wrongs. He backed, amongst others, deserted wives, wounded soldiers battling the Government over pensions, customers arguing against banks. Denning, the man whose dissents led to the Legislature responding by bringing necessary changes in the law, once famously stated:-
“What is the argument on the other side? Only this, that no case has been found in which it has been done before. That argument does not appeal to me in the least. If we never do anything which has not been done before, we shall never get anywhere. The law will stand still while the rest of the world goes on, and that will be bad for both.”
Today there is a very significant reason why I quote this great man. I do it to remind my fellow brothers as well as the citizens of my nation that bravery has never been a choice for judges, it comes with the oath we take to in all circumstances – do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favor, affection or ill-will.
Mr. Justice Sajjad Ali Shah
The life of Late Mr. Justice Sajjad Ali Shah as a Judge is best encapsulated in the title of his autobiography “Law Courts in a Glass House”. My dear brother in this titled phrase beautifully explained the reason why the Courts faced insurmountable difficulties in maintaining its independence a few years ago: because the Courts were glass houses built on fragile convictions and were brittle to the core owing to the lack of unity within and absence of the resolve to not be dictated by anything besides the Constitution and Allah Almighty. Departing from this world at the age of 84, my brother judge served as the top Judge of the Sindh High Court before he was elevated to the Supreme Court where he eventually served as the Chief Justice for approximately three years. We remember him today with fond memories of the judgments that he left behind and the contributions he made to the legal fraternity.
Mr. Justice Ajmal Mian
Born in Delhi and belonging to the Delhi Punjabi Sudagraan family, Late Mr. Justice Ajmal Mian graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Karachi and was called to the Bar of England and Wales at the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in the year 1957. He was soon enrolled as an Advocate of the High Court of West Pakistan commencing an illustrious career in law which eventually led to him being elevated as a Judge of the High Court of Sindh.
Prior to this, he remained a lecturer at the Sindh Muslim Law College Karachi, officiating as its Principal in 1973 and amongst other things, was counsel to the Auqaf Department and the Evacuee Trust Board for 15 years. When he was elevated to the Supreme Court, he was eventually sworn in as the Chief Justice where he remained in office for approximately two and a half years. Apart from a vast knowledge in law, Justice Ajmal Mian had a beautiful way of expressing his opinion in words. He very eloquently explained the nature of the Constitution and how it should be interpreted:-
“A written Constitution is an organic document designed and intended to cater the need for all times to come. It is like a living tree, it grows and blossoms with the passage of time in order to keep pace with the growth of the country and its people. Thus, the approach, while, interpreting a constitutional provision should be dynamic, progressive and oriented with the desire to meet the situation, which has arisen, effectively. The interpretation cannot be a narrow and pedantic.”
Mr. Justice Mukhtar Ahmed Junejo
Hailing from the Samma Sindhi Rajput tribe of the Province of Sindh which produced many great men including Mohammad Khan Junejo, the Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Late Mr. Justice Mukhtar Khan Junejo remained a Judge of the High Court of Sindh for approximately eight years before being elevated as a Judge of this Court. He rendered many noteworthy judgments on service law, rent law, property law as well as some on criminal law.
To his list of accomplishments he also has the honour of being the acting Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan during which time he took some hard decisions in the interest of upholding the independence of the Judiciary including rejecting the nomination papers of a strong political candidate on account of derogatory remarks made by him against the Judiciary.
During his speech as a Chief Guest before a gathering of law students, he expressed that the knowledge of law was “like common sense” – essential and indispensable. Since the journey of learning is a never-ending road he, like all Judges, was a diligent and keen student of the law, and advocated that the key to success in a career in law was hard work alone.
Mr. Justice Hamid Ali Mirza
Another brother hailing from the Province of Sindh, Late Mr. Justice Hamid Ali Mirza was born in the city of Jacobabad, who went on to obtain his B.Sc. and L.L.B. in 1959 and 1961 respectively from the University of Sindh Jamshoro. He practiced as an advocate for almost a decade before he joined the Judicial Service in the year 1973 where he served in the capacity of a Senior Civil Judge and Assistant Session Judge for almost eight years.
Thereafter he served as a District and Session Judge for a period of over twelve years before being elevated to the High Court of Sindh where in addition to his duties as a Judge he also remained a Member Syndicate of the University of Sind, Jamshoro. After being elevated to this Court he became one of the few privileged Judges of this Court who served this nation through his judicial acumen and command over the law from the first forum of dispensation of justice to the highest and ultimate forum of administration of justice.
A Judge being the administrator of justice, is no less than a mujahid on a crusade for dispensation of justice, which is very aptly described in the following words of Dr. Allama Iqbal:-
Sabaq Phir Parh Sadaqat Ka, Adalat Ka, Shujaat Ka
Liya Jaye Ga Tujh Se Kaam Dunya Ki Imamat Ka
Read again the lesson of truth, of justice and valour!
You will be asked to do the work of taking on responsibility for the world.
The walls of this building have seen a lot of changing seasons, including a few storms that threatened the very sanctity of this institution. One such storm was when certain political forces had succeeded in shaking the very foundations of what this Court stands for. While we have come a long way from that fateful day, remembering it today should do well to remind us of just how sacred the independence of the judiciary is to the spirit of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and that when the three pillars collide, none comes out unhurt and it is the nation as a whole that suffers.
It also stands as a good reminder of the fact that unless we as an institution stand tall against such extraneous threats, we remain at risk of being washed away with the tides. Today, this Court has gained back the trust of the people after decades of sacrifices and determination. Today, I am proud to say that the faith of the people of Pakistan in its Judiciary has been restored and while opinions may differ as to the manner of delivery of justice, we stand as one in saying that we have secured the independence of this sacred institution; a statement that was some decades ago absolutely inconceivable.
We have achieved this through the strength of the Bench and the Bar as well as the support of the Legislature and the Executive in understanding the crucial importance of the independent functioning of all three pillars of the State. I will conclude this speech by saying that a Judge can at the very most hope that he has fulfilled his duty to the best of his abilities, within the three principles of Denning – ‘let justice be done’, ‘freedom under the law’ and ‘put your trust in God’.
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