Lahore : A meeting of National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) was held today under the Chairmanship of Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Chief Justice of Pakistan / Chairman NJPMC at the Supreme Court Branch Registry, Karachi.
The meeting was attended by members NJPMC including Chief Justice, Federal Shariat Court Justice Sheikh Najamul Hassan, Chief Justices of the Provincial High Courts which includes Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Ahmed Ali M. Sheikh, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Mir Muhammad Noor Meskanazai and Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi.
Justices of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Justice Faisal Arab and Syed Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice (Retired) Mian Shakirullah Jan, Member Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan attended the meeting on special invitation.
Secretary Law and Justice Commission and NJPMC Dr. Muhammad Raheem Awan also attended the meeting and presented the reports on agenda items.
It is worth mentioning here that first time male and female representative judges from the district from all provinces and ICT have been invited to attend the NJPMC meeting to share the ideas and experience of district judiciary with this highest forum.
The learned judges of the district judiciary highly appreciated on being invited and said that this has increased their confidence and boosted their enthusiasm to work shoulder by shoulder with the superior judiciary to provide speedy and quality justice to the people of Pakistan.
In his opening remarks the Chairman NJPMC said that the purpose of the meeting is to introduce reforms in the judicial sector for provision of quick justice to the people of Pakistan.
The commission examined the reports highlighting the reasons of delay in disposal of civil and criminal cases.
The Chairman emphasized that judicial officers should use all their expertise with full dedication to address the problem of backlog and delay in disposal of the cases in accordance with law. Moreover, good speaking and legally correct decisions at the trial court level will also reduce the load upon appellate courts to a large extent.
The Chairman NJPMC urge the Chief Justices to grasp the reasons for delay in the subordinate courts and advised that such reasons should be resolved by using all the available resources. He emphasized that disputes of the general public could also be resolved in a timely and cost efficient manner through recourse to Alternate Dispute Resolution methodologies.
The Chairman NJPMC stated that current laws are not compatible with today’s needs and require amendments. He further stated that he is of firm view that the parliament is supreme legislative body hence legislation is not the prerogative of the judiciary and the responsibility to make the law more effective rests with the parliament.
However, the judiciary could strive to dispense the justice by playing its role provided in the constitution.He further stated that although the courts are overburdened for example for the population of 62000 in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, only one judge is available. Similarly, in the Lahore high court, only one judge is available for 2.2 million people.
Similarly, in Punjab, a single judge has a case load of more than 660 cases which shows that judiciary is doing its best for dispensation of the justice despite of heavy caseload and the courts are endeavored to resolve the issues of delays within its existing limited resources.
The committee also examined the reports related to submission and approval of challan by the police and prosecution within statutory periods which is main cause of backlog and delay in criminal cases.
The committee also emphasized on need that investigating and prosecuting agencies should improve their standards so that no one could be let free because of their performance and for which the judiciary is blamed.
Moreover standard forensic laboratories should be setup throughout the country.
The Chairman/Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar stressed upon the Hon’ble Provincial Chief Justices to upgrade the judicial academies for training of judges and publication of bench books for the judges for readily referring to basic principles of civil and criminal law.
He also emphasized the need of formation of expert courts/special dedicated courts which could adjudicate specific type of cases such as rent/family/ child care etc. in accordance with law.
The Hon’ble Chairman NJPMC stated that as per decision of the August Supreme Court of Pakistan, the District Judiciary should pass judgments within thirty days.
The NJPMC also examined the importance of the role information technology in legal arena and highlighted the need of modern technology in court processes and stated that the Lahore High Court has adopted very useful information technology in its court working which could be used by other courts as model which may be instrumental in providing relief to general public. He also emphasized the usefulness of bench bar liaison.
The Secretary Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan Dr. Muhammad Raheem Awan presented reports highlighting the latest institution, pendency and disposal status of cases in Superior Judiciary and District Judiciary.
The Chairman NJPMC informed that for improving process serving, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has called a meeting of Inspector Generals of Police and desired that Secretary NJPMC may propose suggestions for improvements in the process serving.
The Chairman NJPMC observed that the national judicial automation committee may submit proposals for improvement of automation of judiciary.
The Secretary of the Commission Dr. Raheem Awan informed to the Hon’ble Chief Justice that the National Judicial Automation Committee’s meeting has already been called for 27th January in which these directions will be considered.
The Hon’ble Chairman NJPMC also advised that the cases in which stay orders have been given should be decided within six months.He also desired that the high courts may submit proposals for effective mechanism regarding process of execution of decrees which will be presented in the next meeting of NJPMC.
Similarly, proposals for devising a mechanism for quick disposal of rent and succession cases may be submitted by the high courts in the next NJPMC meeting which will be conducted within one month.
The Chairman NJPMC also directed that the Secretary NJPMC may convene a meeting of presiding officers of administrative tribunals/special courts posted throughout the country.
The said meeting may be attended by the Chief Justices of provincial high courts and Islamabad high court. The high courts may provide the LJCP Secretariat with the last six months performance reports of the aforesaid administrative tribunals/special courts.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice Lahore High Court gave a presentation on judicial reforms initiated in the Lahore High Court, District Judiciary and Judicial Academy.
He presented reform initiatives in various sectors including installation of Enterprise System in which rules based case scheduling, online hearings & case proceedings, copy & dispatch of physical documents, judges workbench and court performance analytics & dashboards and which processes are very useful in delay reduction.He also presented statistics about pendency in various High Courts and District Judiciaries.
In the presentation, he also showed that the case per judge ratio is highest in the Lahore High Court. He also presented statistics about expeditious disposal of cases through ADR and through establishment of model courts in Punjab.
He informed that facilitation centers/sahulat centers have also been set up for relief of general public. He also informed that grievances of overseas Pakistanis are being decided within six months in Punjab province.He further informed that Helpline, SMS alerts, CCTV cameras, web portal, mobile apps have also been setup for the general public.
He also informed that case management plan has been introduced in the district judiciary and special courts have been setup on the basis of case categorization besides courts for children.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice Peshawar High Court also gave a presentation on the Legal Reforms & Innovations, Planning Strategies, Business processes improvement & Facilitation and Consultation in the Peshawar High Court.
He informed that Peshawar High Court has recommended a number of recommendations in the criminal and civil procedure code regarding expeditious disposal.
Moreover, a large number of innovative administrative measures, capacity building programs and planning & development strategies have been introduced.