THE National Assembly Wednesday took a major step to check what it sees as transgression and encroachment upon powers of parliament by any other institution by passing a resolution to constitute a joint special committee of both houses of parliament to institute requisite judicial reforms.
Through the resolution moved by the Law Minister, Azam Nazeer Tarar, the House resolved that to ensure the supremacy of the Parliament and the Constitution in letter and in spirit, it would institute requisite judicial reforms, which are need of the hour,
The move assumed urgency apparently after the plain refusal of the Supreme Court to form the full bench as unanimously demanded by the coalition government and a majority of the legal community to hear the petition filed by Ch Pervaiz Elahi against the ruling of the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly on the occasion of run-off election of the Chief Minister.
However, there have been demands since long that Parliament should take measures to safeguard its sovereignty and supremacy that the threatened by the judicial activism as was also highlighted by the novel interpretation of the Article-63A of the Constitution, which is seen as a crude attempt to re-write the Constitution, which is the sole prerogative of the parliament.
There are also calls to review the highly defective procedure of selection of judges for the superior courts where inductions are made on considerations other than merit and seniority.
The National Assembly has rightly observed that the Constitution envisages trichotomy of powers among three organs of the state namely the legislature, executive and judiciary and, therefore, no organ should encroach upon the powers of the others to ensure smooth functioning of the state affairs.
There is also an impression that the judiciary is becoming a party in the political battles and in this regard remarks and moves of the courts with regard to amendments in the accountability law and voting for Overseas Pakistanis are being cited by the relevant parties.
Some circles fear that going by the existing trends, Parliament would not be able to legislate anything if it is not liked by the judiciary.
As the move has the potential to create misunderstanding among state organs, the Interior Minister, Rana Sanaullah, asserted that the powers of the Supreme Court were not being slashed in any way.
We hope that the entire process of judicial reforms would be undertaken in a fair and unbiased manner to ensure there is no harm to the harmonious working of the three organs of the state, an impression which is gaining strength these days due to certain controversial decisions of the judiciary.
It has wisely been decided to constitute a Joint Committee of the two Houses and this would ensure representation of the major opposition party, PTI, which has its effective presence in the Upper House of Parliament.
It is all the more important that the reforms should focus on how to restore shaken confidence of the people in the ability of the judiciary to dispense justice.
The government and other political parties have their own reservations about, what they call, the one-sided justice, an issue highlighted by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday.
That the President, Prime Minister and Deputy Speaker had violated the Constitution in March but they were never called by any court.
Accusing the judiciary of having double standards, he said that there should be an equal justice for everyone to run the country.
He said that there should not be a difference between the treatment meted out to him and his opponents.
However, the main concern of the people is the proverbial delay in disposal of cases by all tiers of the judiciary as litigants do not get justice even for decades despite incurring huge costs to seek justice.
For years, the judiciary is focusing more on high profile cases and is hardly paying due attention to address genuine grievances of other litigants.
The terms of reference of the proposed Joint Committee of Parliament are not yet known, but one hopes the process of judicial reforms would also cover issues that are the priority concern of the common man.
The judiciary also needs to adopt a cooperative attitude to make the process a real success.