Judicial Activism in Pakistan

9 September 2016

On one hand judicial crises rekindled the popular aspirations towards rule of law, independent judiciary and undiluted democracy ensuring civilian supremacy. On the other hand the suspension of judiciary after November 3rd has led to the disillusionment of public from the cherished ideals that may help the country get rid of the decades of authoritarian traditions, autocratic rule and political decay. Given the chequered political scenario of Pakistan fraught with uncerertanities, the resoulotion of this crises may/would determine the future political dynamics of Pakistan.

UNCEREMONIOUS REMOVAL OF CHIEF JUSTICE AND THE PUBLIC REACTION: 1. Government apprehensions concerning judicial activism: The judiciary under suspended Chief Justice had taken Judicial Activism to new height and tthis Judicial Activism was directed towards ensuring rule of law, expeditious provision of justice and checking state authoritarianism but this Judicial Activism ran counter with the presidents mode of governance which allowed more space to the intelligence agencies .

And the judiciary mood and posturing over these issues alarmed the government and arose its apprehensions about much important cases which were to be decided by judiciary that would determine the future issues. In anticipation of prospective judicial verdict against military removed the chief Justice which triggered the judicial crises. 2 . UNPRECEDENTED DEFIANCE OF CHIEF JUSTICE: Judiciary was notorious for a legitimizing role. The history of judiciary was full of its pliant role which had tarnished the image of judiciary.

The defiance of chief of judiciary evoked unprecedented popular support. 3. ROLE OF MEDIA: Another factor which further encouraged the judiciary attracted deflected popular attention towards this crises was the coverage of print and electronic media which paved the public opinion in favor of Chief Justice. 4. GOVERNMENTS MISHANDLING OF THIS WHOLE AFFAIR: The most important cause behind the judicial crises was government s mishandling of this issue. It dated back on filing of reference against on flimsy grounds.

The irresponsible statement given by state ministers and government functionaries to governments fatal blunder in judging judiciary’s response. This led to the deterioration of government . The situation was made even worse by the disharmony among the stances of state ministers. SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS BETWEEN MARCH 9 AND JULY 20: 1. Chief Justice Defiance: The manner in which he was pressurized and kept in General Headquaters for 9 hours and didnt sighned the letter of resignation gained support of lawyer, , civil society and judges. 2.

Support of lawyers and judges : Judges resigned in protest their commitment to judiciary stance. 3. Involvement of civil society activists:Civil society found a new role and provided a historic role to check highhandedness of state further awakened by media. 4. Popular Campaighn: Enthusiastic support of public further emboldened civil society to stick to his defiant stance and public opinion in favor of Chief Justice has great impact on judicial decison in favour of civil society. FACTORS INFLUENCING SUPREME COURTS VERDICT IN FAVOUR OF JUDICIARY:

Public opinion has the force to change laws and decision. Another important factor in influencing the decision of judciary was the image factor . Unprecedented response to the Chief Justice pressurized the supreme judicial court to give a verdict to save its image. Judiciary found it more appropriate to sign with Chief Justice’s stance. ENSURING CONFRONTATION BETWEEN JUDICIARY AND GOVERNMENT: Another unfortunate turn was ensuring confrontation betwen judiciary and government. e. g governement failed

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