Former CJP Jillani receives prestigious Clifford Wallace Award

Staff Report

Islamabad: Former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, in his acceptance speech after receiving the prestigious Clifford Wallace Award, praised the judiciary of Pakistan and its progressive journey from judicial expediency to judicial courage. justice (retd) Jillani received the award in recognition of his extraordinary career as a judge and a jurist by the J.Reuben Clark Law Society.
‘Historically, the conflict between judicial independence and political impunity has been the recurrent theme of the evolution of democracy. Perhaps few judiciaries in the developing world have lived through such a conflict which was marked by a progressive journey from judicial expediency to judicial courage as the judiciary in our country,’ said the former chief justice in his acceptance speech.
Recounting the judicial crisis created by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, the former top judge said the crisis ‘united and energised the judges in defending the Constitution’.
Justice (retd) Jillani added that following the suspension of the then chief justice by the military ruler, an apex court bench set aside the order and refused to swear loyalty to the army chief. ‘The chief justice and several judges of the Supreme Court and High Court including myself refused to take a fresh oath as there was no constitutional provision for that. They were made dysfunctional,’ he said.
He further elaborated that a large lawyers movement then started and eventually, after the transfer of power to a civilian government, the independence of the judiciary was restored. The former chief justice further mentioned the two vital functions of the judiciary in a liberal democracy such as Pakistan besides resolving disputes between the citizens and the state.
‘To keep the three organs of the state within the parameters of their powers as spelt out in law and the Constitution and to enforce the rule of law and fundamental human rights in a socio-political culture marked by ethnic, racial, religious and sectarian polarization.’ ‘In the performance of these functions, the judiciary has to confront many challenges.’
During the speech, Justice (retd) Jillani also highlighted how he handled sensitive cases ‘in a multi-racial society such as Pakistan’ . ‘In the enforcement of fundamental rights in a multi-racial society, the Supreme Court has been true to its mandate under the Constitution.’ The J.Reuben Clark Law Society is an organisation of lawyers and law students and comprises over 65 professional and 125 student chapters throughout the world.