Justice, with chutney on the side


Pakistan’ new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ibrahim made a very valid point when he asked, July 26, the officials of the Election Commission to end their contacts and affiliations with politicians as part of a bid to ensure transparent polls. This advice is to maintain neutrality, not to get influenced by politicians and media, and to just concentrate on the task for which they have been mandated.
I wonder if Justice (retd) Fakhr could influence the Pakistan’s superior judiciary to do the same – not to be influenced by politicians and the media. But we see that a wave of judicial activism has created many problems. During court hearings, the judges of the superior courts and often refer to the previous evening’s TV talk shows and then pass remarks in an apparent bid to respond to the arguments presented in those talk shows.
Tens of thousands of petitions are lying in Supreme Court to be heard and decided upon. But, unfortunately, only certain petitions are given priority. One such example is the SC’s involvement in deciding upon a petition: whether the bakers in Lahore shall be allowed to sell their samosas at Rs 6/piece. Some people may clap on this public (read street) justice but in my opinion SC is not the right forum to take decision regarding samosa prices.
How the SC decides to take up petitions seems to be a mind-boggling process. Sometime petitions about scraps of paper (memos) and samaosas are taken up in a jiffy while the petitions by Asghar Khan and other litigants keep gathering dust somewhere.