Model Courts: Why do lawyers oppose after an outclass performance?

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News Analysis |

The model courts have decided some 1,523 cases across the country in 12 days since their inception on April 01. According to a report of the monitoring cell, during the first 12 days, the performance of model courts remained exemplary as they decided 642 murder and 881 narcotics cases.

According to details, about 5,966 witnesses were testified by the courts, including 163 in Islamabad, 2,502 in Punjab, 1,077 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1,155 in Sindh and 1069 in Baluchistan.

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

Since no adjournments are granted by Model Courts, the policy to provide everyone with speedy justice is encouraging and should be appreciated, they add.

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

It is pertinent to note here that under the new judicial policy, 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 Baluchistan.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa introduced the idea of model courts to provide speedy and cheap justice. After assuming the charge, the CJP has focused on dealing with all the pending cases before the superior and lower courts across the country.

Read more: CJP Khosa announces model courts for speedy trials

Lawyers to Boycott the Courts

There are some elements in the legal fraternity who did not agree with the idea of Model courts and have decided to protest against it. The All Pakistan lawyer representatives’ conference on Saturday announced a countrywide boycott of court proceedings on April 25 against ‘unjustified’ decisions of the National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) about the sessions court powers and establishments of model courts”.

Supreme Court Bar Association President, Amanullah Kanrani said that the Constitution was supreme and all decisions should be made strictly in accordance with the Constitution. In a TV talk show Mr. Syed Amjad Shah, vice chairman of All Pakistan Lawyer representatives maintained the same and urged the court 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 court.

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

Some lawyers have rejected the criticism leveled by All Pakistan lawyer representatives’ and demanded them to stand by the court in its efforts to provide speedy and cheap justice to everyone.

Representatives of the Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Baluchistan bar councils also demanded immediate withdrawal of the NJMPC decisions about sessions court powers under Section 22-A,B of CrPC and establishment of model courts.

However, Earlier, on March 12, The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan had stated, “Under Article 37 (d) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the provision of expeditious and inexpensive justice is ensured, therefore, in-line with the said Constitutional mandate ‘Expeditious Justice Initiative’ model courts would be established at district level throughout the Country which would conduct the trials on day to day and continuous basis.”

Experts believe that the matter of model courts is important and does not stand in violation of the constitution. In the case of Pakistan, millions of cases are pending before the courts and people are struggling to seek justice. Since no adjournments are granted by Model Courts, the policy to provide everyone with speedy justice is encouraging and should be appreciated, they add. It is also argued that a system of justice which is both efficient and just shall re-build the image of the judiciary through giving it popular legitimacy. Therefore, the reactions being seen at the moment are not well-thought and need to be seriously reviewed in the best interest of society as a whole.

Read more: Provision of speedy justice: CJP unimpressed with parliament’s role

Some lawyers have rejected the criticism leveled by All Pakistan lawyer representatives’ and demanded them to stand by the court in its efforts to provide speedy and cheap justice to everyone.

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