Constitution gives me right to visit hospitals, says CJP


ISLAMABAD Jan 11 (TNS): Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar explained on Thursday that the Constitution gives him the right to visit hospitals.

He made the remarks while hearing a case related to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council.

During the hearing, the chief justice referred to criticism of his recent visit to Lahore’s Mayo Hospital. “It was asked under what jurisdiction I visited the hospital,” he remarked, before answering that the Constitution gives him the right to do so.

The chief justice remarked that he will visit every medical college and those with inadequate facilities will be closed down. “This is a matter of citizens’ health. I will keep visiting hospitals,” he observed.

He said that the Supreme Court does not want to close down all medical colleges, adding that they are only against those with poor standards.

The chief justice also summoned the records of all medical colleges and universities of Punjab.

On December 19, the chief justice and other members of the Lahore Registry bench hearing a suo motu case related to contaminated drinking water visited the Mayo Hospital and inquired into its facilities.

The judges, during the visit, interacted with patients and also ordered better drinking facilities at the premises.

After that, the chief justice twice referred to criticism of the visit, which was also brought up by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

On Dec 23 in Karachi, while hearing the water pollution case, the chief justice remarked that he visited the hospital to safeguard the lives of citizens as it is mentioned in the Constitution that the judiciary is also responsible for the provision of basic services to people.

Later, on Dec 28, while hearing the matter of fee structure at medical colleges, the chief justice had observed that his recent visit to Mayo Hospital was heavily criticized but maintained that he will pay a visit wherever there is a healthcare issue.

He had remarked that the court is hearing cases of public interest because of passion, not for its personal glory.

On Tuesday, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif referred to the visit, telling the chief justice to “feel free to go to [these] hospitals, but also look at what is happening in your own courts”.

He was speaking to lawyers at the Punjab House in Islamabad after attending a corruption hearing against him and his family following his disqualification.

Earlier, on January 6 this year, the former premier’s daughter Maryam Nawaz requested the chief justice to spare some time for Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from where people visit hospitals of Punjab for treatment.

She made the statement on Twitter following the chief justice’s criticism of the Punjab government while hearing the case of the deplorable state of public hospitals in Punjab.

Meanwhile, hearing the Al Razi Medical College case on Thursday, the chief justice pleaded with the lawyers’ fraternity to stop boycotting courts in the name of protests.

He was referring to the boycott of courts by the legal community today in light of the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kasur, Punjab.

The chief justice observed that lawyers should hold protests but a boycott is not warranted. “Sadness [about the Kasur incident] aside, there was no reason for a boycott of courts,” he asserted.

“I put my hands together and appeal to lawyers to leave the way of protests and aggression,” he remarked.

The chief justice further observed that negative fallout of the 2007 lawyers’ movement, which restored the judiciary deposed by the then-president General Pervez Musharraf, was the instilling of arrogance in judges and a violent streak in lawyers.

He stated further that pride and conceit is the end of a judge.

The case was then adjourned until next week.