Judiciary can interfere if institutions cross limits: Pakistan Chief Justice

Islamabad, Sept 15 (ANI): Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said that while the state institutions can function within their legal ambits, the judiciary can step in if any of them crosses its limits.

"If any institution crosses its limits, then the judiciary has the authority to intervene," the Daily Times quoted CJP Chaudhry as saying, who added that the superior court judges were under a solemn oath to "preserve, protect and defend the constitution".

Speaking at a ceremony organised at the Supreme Court to mark the start of the new judicial year, Chaudhry said, "The constitution provides a system of separation of powers, based on the principle of checks and balances... Full care is invariably taken by judges to avoid encroachment in the domain of other functionaries of the state and they are guided by the fullest and keenest sense of responsibility while adjudicating upon such a matter."

Chaudhry appreciated the present parliament for not endorsing the unconstitutional steps taken on November 3, 2007 by a military ruler (General Musharraf), stating that whenever courts interfered to nullify an act which was contrary to law or the constitution, the government felt offended and annoyed.

"In the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) case, the court examined the ordinance on the touchstone of various articles of the constitution and declared that its provisions violated the constitution," the chief justice pointed out.

He said that courts respected and supported the democratic institutions, elected officials and public functionaries and helped them perform their functions.

Chaudhry added that the judiciary should be "the catalyst for change" which would "strengthen democratic norms and improve governance and help the country move on the path of socio-economic and political development." (ANI)

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