Abrar Hasan’s book, Independence of Judiciary and Judicial Crisis, comes at a time when there is much debate about the role of the judiciary, particularly with regards to the question of the judiciary overstepping the bounds of its constitutionally mandated sphere.
Hasan takes us through the origins of the doctrine of separation of powers, both in theory and in practice. He argues that historically in a number of countries the judiciary and the executive have been at odds and that in democracies, except in Malaysia if you consider it to be democratic, ultimately it is the judiciary which by virtue of its exclusive authority to interpret the constitution and the law has prevailed.
The book is a must-read for students of law to understand the origins of the doctrine of separation of powers and the concept and meaning of the rule of law. Hasan demonstrates that in the establishment of the rule of law in a society there will be an inevitable tussle between the executive and the judiciary to determine the limits of their authority but that it is the judicial institution that eventually sets the limits, not because it is necessarily right but because it is final. The narrative recounts the judiciary-executive face off in the United States, India and Malaysia, and posits that as the Pakistan judiciary begins to demonstrate its independence the executive reacts to it as a perceived encroachment of executive authority.
The book is also a welcome addition to the chronicles of the Pakistan lawyers movement as it is a first hand account of Hasan’s experiences at the helm of the Sindh High Court Bar Association when the tumultuous events of 2007 were being played out. Conceived while he was in jail during the Musharraf-imposed emergency, the book meets its stated purpose “to elaborate the importance of the judicator and trace down the history of independence of judiciary”.
The complex concepts of judicial review have been laid out in a language and form that even a non-expert reader can comprehend.— Muneer A. Malik
Independence of Judiciary and Judicial Crisis(LAW)By Abrar Hasan Sindh Balochistan Law Reports, Karachi 327pp. Rs1,200