How To Strengthen The Rule Of Law
We cannot conceive the dream of a mature judiciary till we have not established the culture of the rule of law. We cannot bring peace to the society without rule of law as people who lose credence over state institutions take law in their own hands and become judges in their own cases. Inequality provides oxygen for illegal and immoral activities which are against the spirit of a political institution like a state.
Before understanding the concept of implementation of law, first we have to open up the concept of the rule of law. The rule of law means that the government and its officials, as well as individuals and private entities, are accountable before the law, laws are clear, publicized, stable and just. They are applied evenly and protect the fundamental rights of every citizen. Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives.
The World Justice Project’s (WJP) rule of law index, 2016, while using the above definition of rule of law, ranked Pakistan 106 out of 113 countries, which is lamentable. Rule of law is a vital element for peace and prosperity and it plays important role in positive and progressive development of a society. In Pakistan, the rule of law is tenuous and needs government attention to few crucial elements which may bring back to track the deteriorated form of rule of law in Pakistan.
Firstly, law & order and security situation is the first essential element of the rule of law. Security is a fundamental duty of a state to be provided equally to all citizens irrespective of race, religion and political affiliation. It is also a precondition for the realization of the rights and freedoms that the rule of law seeks to advance. This factor has two dimensions that cover various threats to law & order and security: crimes are effectively controlled and justice provided so that people do not resort to violence to redress personal grievances. Using the above two dimensions, it’s hard for Pakistan to meet them as the crime ratio is incrementing day by day. Rule of law is only probable through active police department and judicial system as the former can bring tight security situation while the latter can punish its violators.
Corruption and rule of law cannot go parallel to each other. Corruption exists in three forms i.e bribery, improper influence by private interests, and misappropriation of public funds. It creates deprivation and inconvenience among the populace as their money is embezzled ruthlessly by elites without any accountability that forces them to show roughneck backlash that directly poses a menace to rule of law. How can we claim rule of law where continuous embezzlement of money is on the rise without any fruitful accountability? Using the above factors, WJP ranked Pakistan 97 out of 113 countries in corruption. To root the rule of law we need to make vigilant anti-corruption institutions like FIA and NAB independent and depoliticized, to nap all those who bag the public money illegally.
Rule of law cannot divorce fundamental rights as both are basic to human existence. Protection of other legal rights is also impossible without full protection of fundamental rights, as they are considered rudimentary to all other kinds of rights. If I have no right to life, can I claim the right to equality? Fundamental rights are protected by the Constitution of Pakistan in articles 8 to 28 but Pakistan seems less successful in their protection as evident from sectarian killings, forcefully police custody, etc. To ensure the preservation of fundamental rights and the rule of law, a thorough implementation of Article 184 clause (3) of the Constitution by our august courts is much needed.Vigorous independent human rights organizations to report the violations is also necessary.
Rule of law is also dependent on vigilant and effective civil and criminal justice system. A quick justice is a key aspect of the rule of law as it constitutes the conventional mechanism to redress grievances and bring an action against individuals for offences against society. The delivery of effective justice requires that the system be easily accessible and affordable, free of discrimination, free of corruption, and free of timely and unreasonable delay. The system in Pakistan is unable to quickly redress the grievances of aggrieved parties and to round rapidly all those who commit crimes.
In a nutshell, our apex courts, being the custodian of the constitution and fundamental rights, should promote the rule of law and ascertain the quick and effective justice system. In this regard, the government support is also much needed.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any other organization with which he might be associated.