Chief Justice Awards Himself

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry Gives Himself Award

The Chief Justice will be traveling to London next month to receive the prestigious International Jurist Award 2012, media reported over the weekend. While this recognition is being lauded in the media, it seems that there might be more to the story than has been reported.

No doubt the International Jurist Award 2012 is something of a relief for the Chief Justice after being the subject of a rather unflattering report by another international organisation, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). The ICJ report questioned whether the Chief Justice had crossed the line of his constitutional role as jurist and was attempting to influence the direction of policy – the latter being the proper role of parliament, not the court.

Actually, the ICJ’s findings were similar to those of another report released late last year, this one by the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). Dr Mohammad Taqi describes the HCRP’s findings as follows:

The HRCP seems to be of the opinion that the superior judiciary’s overzealous use of the suo motu powers as well as entertaining petitions by the so-called interested parties— the definition of remains nebulous and ever-expanding— has taken up time and energy of the courts to the detriment of other cases. In addition to— and often at the expense of— its normal function as the court of appeal, “the country’s apex judicial forum was also functioning as an ombudsman’s office, as an administrative court, as an anti-corruption tribunal, as a supreme investigation agency, and as the sole defender of not only the constitution but also of public morality”. In a country where the backlog of cases is to the tune of millions, by seizing itself with issues cherry-picked from or by the media or thrown in its lap for political reasons, the Supreme Court has clearly spread itself too thin.

After receiving such reviews by independent international legal organisations, finally having his work praised by an international legal organisation must be quite comforting to the Chief Justice. This award has certainly pleased the media as well as certain opposition politicians who are cheer leading for the Chief Justice in his decisions against the government. After storming the Supreme Court in 1997 during his own contempt case, Nawaz Sharif has become the Chief Justice’s most loyal servant. Even PTI’s Jahangir Tareen who only a few years ago was defending Gen. Musharraf’s attacks against the Chief Justice has had a change of heart now that the Chief Justice is attacking his political rivals.

There is, of course, one difference between the international legal organisations that are criticising the Chief Justice and the one that is granting him an award next month. That difference being that the Chief Justice himself is Vice-President of the organisation giving him the award.

It’s rather ironic, one must admit, that for all his talk about the importance of an independent judiciary, the Chief Justice is going to accept an award from an organisation that he himself sits as Vice-President. I will leave it to you, dear reader, to interpret this irony for yourself. As for me, I think that until the common man can get justice, perhaps the Chief Justice should be a little more humble about whether he deserves any awards – especially when they’re handed out by his own organisation.

7 thoughts on “Chief Justice Awards Himself

  1. This is a total biased opinion. For once the intelligentia should comment realistically keeping their biases aside. The country is already fragmented and authors like this one, in self righteous mode, cleverly add up to the mess in which Zars, Gilanis, and Sharifs have dumped us all.

    • What is bias about it? Is the Chief Justice not VP of the organisation giving him the award? If Zardari was VP or an organisation giving himself an award would you not think that was strange?

  2. This article is biased. The international jurists are not the servants of Pakistan. There is merit outside. If our Chief Justice gets this award. It is not due to the fact that he is giving himself an award rather its an international organization which is honouring us and the nation.

  3. My dear friends, the man whose name is Iftikhar Ch: is a full drama and big actor. He is misguiding the nation and wants to be the ruler of Pakistan.

  4. CJP is unable to improve his own single dept(higher &lower judiciary).but,he has come up to reform whole country by punishing and maligning just one political party.He seems to serve under influence of media and some politicians.He can not serve contempt of notices to media/columnists,opposition leaders for giving ‘verdicts’ on the sub juiced/under trail cases.such actions would not add to the glory of judiciary and CJP

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