LAHORE - Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said justice could not be termed justice without conducting transparent and timely hearing.

“No society can survive without justice as injustice compels people to take law into their own hands, creating problems for the government to establish its writ,” he said, addressing International Convention on Fair Trial (Prospects and Implementation), organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association on Saturday at a local hotel.

“If the people are not treated equally before the law, they feel aggrieved and tend to take the law into their own hands, which ultimately proves fatal for the whole society and becomes a challenge for the maintenance of law and order and ultimately becomes a challenge to the writ of the govt,” CJ said, adding justice was indeed the greatest interest of man on the earth and without justice no society could survive.

He said right to fair trial had been recognised by all the countries of the world respecting the rule of law and defined in various regional as well as international instruments relating to human rights.

He said right to fair trial was inserted as a fundamental right in the form of Article 10-A in the Constitution through 18th Amendment. However, there was a long list of judgments wherein this right had already been recognised by the superior courts; in the famous case of Sharaf Faridi and 3 others Vs Federation of Pakistan and another, it was observed that the right to “access to justice to all” was a well-recognised inviolable right enshrined in Article 9 of the Constitution. “This right is equally found in the doctrine of due process of law. The right to access to justice includes the right to be treated according to law, the right to have a fair and proper trial and a right to have an impartial court or tribunal. This clarifies that this right is already being recognised by our jurisprudence before its insertion in the Constitution,” he held.

The CJP pointed out that in order to prevent the law enforcement and intelligence agencies from using their powers arbitrarily and to regulate their powers in accordance with law under proper executive and judicial oversight, “Investigation for Fair Trial Act, 2013” had been enacted. The CJP said: “Islam has greatly stressed the importance of justice. The holy Quran says, “Allah commands justice and fair dealing.” It has also been ordained in the holy Quran that: “…….When you judge between people, judge with justice.”

He said: “The right to fair trial is one of the human rights recognised in all the countries respecting constitutionalism and the rule of law. And by ensuring the proper implementation of this right, we can ensure the right of “access to justice to all”.

He said National Judicial Policy was formulated after consulting all the stakeholders of administration of justice to improve the system of administration of justice. The thrust of this policy is to consolidate and strengthen the independence of judiciary, thereby enabling the judiciary to exercise institutional and administrative independence and thus enabling the judges to have decisional independence to decide cases fairly and impartially.

Other judges of the Supreme Court, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Supreme Court chief justice, chief justices and judges of high courts and Federal Shariat Court, the Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court chief judge, the Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Court chief judge, eminent delegates, judges and jurists from foreign countries, office bearers of the SCBA, the Pakistan Bar Council chairman and a large number of lawyers attended the convention.