The new chief justice | Pakistan Today

The new chief justice

Will there be a paradigm shift in the way judiciary works?

After being notified as new Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Tasadduq Hussain Jilani is set to take over reigns from outgoing top judge Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on December 12. He has served as a judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan and a former justice of Lahore High Court.

In the past, Jilani has been overshadowed despite the fact that he had refused to take oath under Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) introduced by former dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007. However, his acceptance of reinstatement under disgraced Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar in year 2008 had raised many questions among the lawyers’ movement leaders. Since then, Justice Chaudhry made sure to sideline Justice Jilani till his appointment as his successor on November 28.

Legal eagles see a slow change taking place at the apex court with Jilani taking over the reigns. However, they say that keeping in view the conduct and conduct of the new CJP, it is almost for sure that the use of aggressive tone and tenor by judges was almost over. Veteran legal wizard S M Zafar says that rather than focusing on bringing in a revolution, Justice Jilani believes in evolutionary process. “There would be a slow evolution under Justice Jilani.

Challenges ahead

Keeping his personality in view, it would not be out of place to mention here that Mr Justice Jilani is likely to reverse the aggressive and hawkish style adopted by his predecessor towards the executive and other organs of the state, especially the armed forces.

Populist decision-making

Experts and senior lawyers say that Justice Jilani has many challenges ahead but the need to shunning judicial activism tops the list as Justice Chaudhry leaves behind his legacy of ‘judicial activism’.

Missing persons’ case

In this preview, missing persons’ case would be a major challenge for the new CJP. Since there are judges who were influenced largely by Justice Chaudhry, Mr Justice Jilani may be careful in formation of benches to avoid any direct confrontation between the state institutions, opine legal experts. Tariq Chaudhry hoped that with Justice Jilani taking over, a slow change will take place.

Suo-motu notices

Aitzaz Ahsan said that the frequent use of article 184/3(suo motu) must end because there was no appeal against a judgment of the SC in suo motu cases. Another top lawyer, Babar Sattar, said it would have to be seen as to how the SC exercises its suo motu powers after CJP Chaudhry.

Contempt notices

Issuing contempt of court notices to government officers and politicians is also another legacy of Justice Chaudhry. Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan says that the contempt of court should be sparingly used and only to enforce the judgments of the courts. He said that CJ Jilani would adopt a more neutral and balanced position between political parties.

Athar Minallah, former spokesman for Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, said that personalities mattered a lot.

Bar, bench relations

Aitzaz Ahsan said that with Justice Chaudhry retiring, conditions will not go back to the square one. “Nor there will be a complete reversal. Iftikhar Chaudhry has raised the bar and the judges will adapt to it. So there is not going to be a swing of the pendulum to the other extreme but the approach of the new CJP is going to be much more balanced and sober”.

Babar Sattar said that with Justice Jilani taking over the SC affairs, he would not say it would be a paradigm shift. “The judiciary has emerged as free independent pillar of the state which is going to stay. But more debate within the SC is likely to take place and they might bring in more consistency,” he added.

Role of parliament in judges’ appointments needs to be cemented

Babar Sattar said that there was a need for strengthening the role of parliament in monitoring of the judiciary. He said that the parliament’s role in judicial appointments had also been reduced which needed to be strengthened.

Judiciary, media relations

On a close relationship between the judiciary and media, senior lawyer SM Zafar said there was a dire need for media to observe a balanced approach towards judiciary and the parliament.

Treason case

SM Zafar said that if things remained normal in the near future, the treason case against General Musharraf would be smooth and swift. Justice Tariq Chaudhry said that if any sort of unrest shakes the government hierarchy, it may affect trial of General Musharraf and he may fly away anytime.

Justice Jilani – a profile

Justice Jilani was born on July 6, 1949, in Multan. His father’s name was Muhammad Ramzan Shah Jilani. He is married to Khalida Jilani and together they have three sons and a daughter.

Jilani is related to the current ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani and Yusuf Raza Gilani, a former prime minister who Justice Chaudhry forced to step down last year.

Education and training

Tasadduq Hussain Jilani did his bachelor from Government Emerson College Multan and obtained a degree in the M.A. in Political Science from Forman Christian College and subsequently a graduate degree in Law from the University of the Punjab.

Justice Jilani received ‘Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters’ from Southern Virginia University in a special convocation in 2007. He also completed a course in Constitutional Law from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of London.

Professional career

Tasadduq Hussain Jilani started practice at District Courts, Multan in 1974. He enrolled as an Advocate of the High Court in 1976. Jilani was elected General Secretary, District Bar Association, Multan in 1976 and in 1978, was elected Member of the Punjab Bar Council. He was appointed as Assistant Advocate General Punjab in July 1979.

He enrolled as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1983. In 1988, he was promoted as Additional Advocate General Punjab. In 1993, he was appointed as Advocate General of Punjab.

Justice Jilani was elevated as a Judge of Lahore High Court on August 7, 1994. He was elevated as Judge Supreme Court of Pakistan on July 31, 2004.

World Justice Project

Tassaduq Hussain Jilani serves as an Honorary Co-Chair for the World Justice Project. The World Justice Project works to lead a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the Rule of Law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity.

Acting Chief Election Commissioner

Mr. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani‚ being senior-most judge of the Supreme Court‚ took oath as Acting Chief Election Commissioner at a simple ceremony in Lahore on August 17, 2013.

Reappointment in 2008

On November 3, 2007, Justice Jilani did not take oath on PCO of 2007 imposed by General Pervez Musharraf. He was declared to have been retired from the Supreme Court. However, on September 5, 2008, he accepted a reappointment to Supreme Court. He was to retain his seniority as if he had never retired.

After restoration of Chief Justice Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry on March 23, 2009, President Asif Ali Zardari issued an executive order that restored Justice Jilani and all other justices who had accepted reappointment.

On July 31, 2009, a 14 panel court held that declaration of emergency and imposition of PCO of 2007 was illegal and invalid. It also held that removal of all justices from higher judiciary was not valid. It further held that reappointment of justices had no legal effect as their removal in the first place was not valid.

Mian Abrar is an Islamabad based journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]