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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Model Courts Restoring Public Confidence in Judiciary?

Model courts are providing speedy and cheap justice to citizens. The CJP believes it is helping to regain public confidence in the judiciary. Model courts have been swiftly concluding pending cases throughout the country.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on Monday said model courts have restored public confidence in the judiciary. He said these courts have negated the allegations of unnecessary delays and transformed the judicial history of Pakistan. Initially, some lawyers opposed the idea but model courts have proven through their performance that it was a great idea.

CJP Khosa made it clear on the day he took the oath that his focus shall remain on providing people speedy and cheap justice. The idea of a model court was introduced so that all the pending cases should be disposed of in time. This is helping the judiciary to restore public confidence in the system.

Justice Khosa was addressing an award distribution ceremony where many judges were awarded for good performance. DG model courts Sohail Nasir submitted a report about the courts.

19,316 civil cases were heard in these model courts and 18,908 cases were put to an end in model trial magistrate courts. Those announcing more verdicts in model courts were awarded in the ceremony.

Performance of Model Courts

To assess the performance of the model courts, the available data of the first 12 days showed a big change. According to a report of the monitoring cell, during the first 12 days, the performance of model courts decided 642 murders and 881 narcotics cases.

The report shows about 5,966 witnesses testified in courts, including 163 in Islamabad, 2,502 in Punjab, 1,077 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1,155 in Sindh and 1069 in Balochistan.

Read more: Have Model Courts restored public confidence in the judiciary?

The courts decided 635 murder cases and gave death sentences to 45 of those accused, including two in Islamabad, 29 in Punjab, five in KP, eight in Sindh and one in Balochistan. Similarly, 143 of the accused were given life imprisonment, including one in Islamabad, 49 in Punjab, 18 in KP, 44 in Sindh and 31 in Balochistan.

Similarly, the courts decided 881 narcotics cases, including 28 in Islamabad, 364 in Punjab, 237 in KP, 94 in Sindh and 158 in Balochistan. Some 298 accused were given imprisonment sentences along with Rs 62.7 million fines.

Moreover, under the new judicial policy, total 116 model courts were established in the country, including two in Islamabad, 36 in Punjab, 27 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 27 in Sindh and 24 in Balochistan.

Why Do Some Lawyers Oppose Model Courts?

Some lawyers’ groups have opposed the idea of model courts and declared it to be against the spirit of the constitution. Lawyers argue that the timeline given under the model courts is not possible given that the time it takes to frame charges, examine the evidence, record statements of those concerned and conclude arguments of prosecution and defense counsel, especially for the latter to do justice to his client’s case. In a TV talk show Mr. Syed Amjad Shah, vice chairman of All Pakistan Lawyer representatives, maintained the same and urged the courts to not to assume the role of the legislature. Mr. Shah repeatedly told Muhammad Malik, the host, that there needs to be clarity about the scope of the apex courts e.g. if it can create the model courts or not.

Read more: Model Courts: How a silent revolution in Pakistan’s judiciary transforming its course?

Furthermore, during a press conference, Karachi Bar Association President Naeem Qureshi stated that model courts were a negation of the judicial system and lawyers will not allow any proceedings against the spirit of natural justice. He further elaborated that lawyers from all over Pakistan will stage protest demonstrations at the Supreme Court for acceptance of their demands.