Judicial validity for military regimes was necessary: Justice Munir
By Abid Butt
LAHORE: Justice Munir A Sheikh, the most senior judge of the Supreme Court, on Tuesday said granting judicial validity to military regimes, which had come to the fore after toppling elected governments, had been the need of the moment and in the larger interest of the nation.
Talking to newsmen here, the judge said though the doctrine of necessity was ‘unconstitutional’ but ‘under the shadow of guns’, the judiciary had made such decisions keeping in view the best interests of the nation.
Justice Sheikh said he agreed that granting legality to dictators had always been an unconstitutional step but by taking that course the judiciary had saved the country’s system from total collapse. He said issues like the Legal Framework Order (LFO) could not be resolved by protesting in the streets.
The judge said the people had to change their attitude and raise issues at appropriate forums. He said parliament or the judiciary should be approached for the resolution of the LFO issue.
Justice Sheikh said only the decisions by parliament or the judiciary, and not the individual opinion of any judge, were the law of the land and were binding on the people.
Justice Sheikh said he would continue to serve as a judge until the extended term of his office expired or the extension was withdrawn either by parliament or by the judiciary, through a constitutional petition.
He was of the view that good and senior members of the judiciary should not vacate their seats by taking emotional decisions, as there was a long queue of incompetent people ready to play into the hands of the government even at the cost of the integrity of the institution.
Justice Sheikh said such decisions had played havoc with the judiciary in the past and added that he did not want to play a role that might not benefit the country.
He said the bar representatives had asked him to retire in accordance with the Constitution but he did not agree with the bar representatives’ argument that such a decision could have been of any use to the nation.
He said on the one hand, the bars were reluctant to approach the judiciary in constitutional matters but were still contacting individual members of the judiciary to take decisions of constitutional nature – such as deciding against serving under the LFO.
He said individuals were only important with reference to institutions. Justice Sheikh said he would continue to take decisions with an independent mind and in accordance with the injunctions of the holy Quran if any constitutional petition was brought before him even regarding the LFO.
Justice Sheikh said his resignation or retirement was not of much significance but an independent judgement, even a dissenting note, in an important case could be a more valuable contribution.