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Address By HCJP

Dated: 6-May-2013

 

Respectable Faculty Members;
Dear Course Participants:
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Assalam-o-Aalikum

I feel privileged to welcome you all in the Supreme Court which is at the apex of judicial hierarchy in Pakistan. It is the court of ultimate jurisdiction deriving its composition and powers directly from the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973. As per constitutional mandate, the Supreme Court of Pakistan acts as the guardian of the Constitution at all times and upholder of constitutional supremacy for the purposes of achieving the ends of justice and rule of law. The Court exercises original, appellate and advisory jurisdiction and also certain inherent powers to do complete justice. It is the constitutional duty of the executive and legislative authorities to act in aid of the Supreme Court and its judicial verdicts are binding on all other courts of Pakistan.

You people belonging to different cadres have entered into civil service after passing competitive examinations and undergoing tough scrutiny by the appointing authorities. You are in fact among the best brains of Pakistan and are expected to work with the same dedication, zeal and spirit in your respective departments as you did for getting inducted into service. Civil service is an important national institution which is built for ensuring effective law and order and promotion of social and economic well being. Public functionaries can give their best to this service by addressing efficiently to the common problems of health, safety, education, civic amenities and necessities of life.

In any democratic polity, the holders of public offices are the trustees of the same and their role is crucial for good governance and socio-economic development. They have to be active participants in the process of governance after assuming responsibilities and discharging the same with utmost integrity and honesty. They are expected to share and uphold the commitment to the rule of law, neutrality, enforcement of decisions and policy and accountability for actions. These are the core values which are also enshrined in the statutes and regulations of almost every civil service. I am hopeful that all of you are adhering strictly to these statutory guidelines and your respective ethical codes as mark of respect and commitment to your profession and duty.

Our great Quid Muhammad Ali Jinnah while addressing the civil officers at Peshawar in 1948 said and I quote

“Civil Service is the back-bone of the State. Governments are formed. Governments are defeated, Prime Ministers come and go, Ministers come and go, but you stay on, and therefore, there is a very great responsibility placed on your shoulders.”

These words of Quaid-e-Azam still serve as a golden principle for all civil servants serving in Pakistan. In a number of cases the Supreme Court of Pakistan has defined the role and duties of civil servants. In the famous F-9 Park case[1], this Court observed that the public functionaries are supposed to adhere to the principle of transparency in the performance of their duties and they are not bound to implement any order which is not in accordance with law. They are only obliged to carry out lawful orders of their superiors. Similarly in the case of Anita Turab[2] the Supreme Court observed that the civil servants in their capacity as advisors in decision making or administrator of law are not subservient to the political executive. That they are obliged to remain compliant with the Constitution and law and not obliged to be servile or unthinkably submissive to the political executive. The Court further observed that there was a need to ensure that in the civil service of Pakistan the decision making in relation to the tenure, appointments, promotion and transfers should remain subject to law, rules, policy and not susceptible to arbitrariness and unfettered discretion.

Every public department and its system of delivery of service require improvements in accord with the legal, social and economic dynamics. The timely redressing of public grievances by the concerned public authorities reduces litigation in courts. The department of Police carries with it the onerous task of extending protection of law to every citizen. Police officials can reduce the opportunities for commission of crimes through prompt lodging of FIRs, proper investigation and submission of challan in the courts. Similarly in the Revenue hierarchy senior officers can protect property rights of citizens by checking illegal entries in the revenue record by the revenue officials. Computerization of revenue record and its proper monitoring can mitigate the chances of forgery in the record. Likewise healthy and improved policies by the management in all other public sectors, keeping in view the contemporary social and legal needs, could contribute towards amelioration of conditions of poor, marginalized and vulnerable groups.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

In the democratic setup of Pakistan, the supreme law is the Constitution itself, from which all the institutions derive their respective powers. The key organs of the State i.e. the executive, legislature and the judiciary have their respective powers and functions; which are to be performed within the constitutional circumference. The doctrine of trichotomy of powers interwoven in the constitutional scheme aims at building a harmonious interaction and cooperation among these three key organs for establishing rule of law in the country. The judicial organ carries with it an additional responsibility of checking constitutional excesses by the other two organs through its power of judicial review.

The objective of judicial review is to place constraints upon the abuse of power by the State institutions and public functionaries for ensuring just and fair treatment to the citizens in accordance with the law and constitutional norms. This power of judicial review is in fact the strongest constitutional tool to do away with arbitrary exercise of authority and abuse of law. The Supreme Court in a number of judgments has stressed the need for compliance with rule of law and due process requirement to establish a system of civilized governance in the country. It has always squarely adjudicated the matters pending before it within the four corners of law and the Constitution in order to ensure continuation of the democratic process in the country. The apex court under the exercise of this power through its landmark judgment in the case of Sindh High Court Bar Association[3] laid to rest the extra-constitutional ‘doctrine of necessity’; and opened up avenues for democratic governance thus foreclosing the possibility of future military regimes in Pakistan.

Rule of Law is central to the establishment of a just and fair society and the civil bureaucracy play pivotal role for achieving this end at local, national and international level. Good governance is a signification of a system of administration providing inter alia security, basic amenities of life, protected human rights, improved living standards, opportunities for personal growth, easy access to fair justice and equality before law and equal protection of law. Transparency and accountability form the key features of good governance and promote the rule of law in public institutions at all levels. Those countries progress and prosper rapidly whose public functionaries perform their duties transparently and make them available for accountability without obstructing the due process of law through abuse of power and authority. The public functionaries as custodians of public exchequer and money have to ensure at all levels that their respective departments are delivering services in transparent and fair manner. They must rely on available laws and rules to guard against corruption and ensure the proper utilization of public funds for the development of the country and welfare of its people. The Judiciary is conscious to its constitutional duty of protecting the rights of citizens including the utilization of public money and funds for their welfare and betterment.

At the end I must say that the civil service is the most vital of executive services in the country as its officers play a leading role in taking the country on the path of good governance, development and progress. I am confident that keeping in view the high esteem of your profession you will work sincerely and wholeheartedly for the economic and social well being of your people. I wish you good luck and success in your future careers.

Thank you.

 


[1] PLD 2010 SC 759

[2] Constitution Petition No 23/2012

[3] PLD 2009 SC 879

 
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