Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali has said that government servants are expected to comply with only those orders of their superiors that are legal and within their competence.
“All public functionaries are required to perform their functions and discharge their duties with integrity, honesty and sincerity, and for the betterment of the general public,” he remarked while addressing the course of participants of the National School of Public Policy on the eve of their visit to the Supreme Court.
He said the achievements of the civil administration in Pakistan have been far from satisfactory: it has remained afflicted with inefficiency, corruption, political interference and lack of accountability.
The chief justice, while referring Article 29 of the Constitution, said that it is the responsibility of each state functionary to act in accordance with the principles of policy, adding that the civil servants are thus supposed to act according to the letter and spirit of Constitution and the law.
Justice Jamali said: “They must ensure the rule of law by functioning with neutrality, enforcing the decisions and policies in the public interest, and remaining accountable for their actions.”
He stressed that the public functionaries are not subservient to the political executive. “Many a time, there is political pressure upon them to perform some acts which are not in accordance with the law.”
The civil administration, the chief justice said, is the backbone of the modern governance system of any state as it provides leadership, command and control and is responsible for continuity of policies to ensure political order, stability and rule of law in the country.
“Good governance is largely dependent on an upright, honest and strong bureaucracy. Therefore, mere submission to the will of superior is not a commendable trait in a bureaucrat,” he added.
Justice Jamali said also that at the commencement of judicial year 2014-2015 there was a carryover balance of 23,915 cases.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2015.