News Analysis |
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khan Khosa has expressed disappointment over the role of the parliament in provision of inexpensive and speedy justice. Justice Khosa was addressing a ceremony in Islamabad the other day when he regretted that the parliament was not doing its job properly. He emphasized that the provision of justice was a shared responsibility and all institutions must play their due role. “It is unfortunate that parliament has not been paying attention to legislative matters. Up till now, we have already sent 70 reports to the parliament and the Law Ministry. Provision of justice is not just the judiciary’s job — the legislature has to do its part,” the CJP said.
The CJP gave the example of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) which is widely misused in the country. He maintained that any act from a murder to rape can be trialed under the said law which is not appropriate. The CJP clarified that the seven-member bench of the Supreme Court shall give its judgment and determine the scope of the ATA.
The US Supreme Court wraps 80 to 90 cases every year. The Supreme Court in the United Kingdom wraps up 100 cases each year. The Supreme Court of Pakistan wrapped up 26,000 cases last year. – CJP Asif Saeed Khosa.
Moreover, he also mentioned the role the judges are playing in Pakistan. “We can’t tell judges to do more, the amount of work our judges are doing here, no one is doing anywhere in the world. A total of 3,000 judges are appointed in the country. Last year 34m cases were wrapped up by our courts — what more can the judges do?”
According to the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (L&JCP), a total of 1,873,085 cases were pending disposal in all the superior and subordinate courts of Pakistan as on November 30, 2017. As per the statistics compiled by the L&JCP, the Supreme Court has 38,071 cases pending till November 30.
All five high courts have a huge number of 293,316 cases, which are yet to be decided. Of them, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has 147,633 pending cases; the Sindh High Court (SHC) has 93,404 undecided cases; the Peshawar High Court (PHC) has a pendency of 29,525 cases; the Balochistan High Court (BHC) has 6,510 cases awaiting decisions; and the IHC has 16,244 pending cases.
Furthermore, according to the report, the district judiciary — sessions judges, additional sessions judges, senior civil judges, and civil judges — is also faced with an enormous pendency of 1,541,119 cases. Although the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is small in size compared to Sindh, its district judiciary has more than double the number of undecided cases. The district judiciary of Punjab has 1,187,076 pending cases; the district judiciary of Sindh has 99,820; the district judiciary of KP has 204,209 cases; the district judiciary of Balochistan has 13,009 cases; the district judiciary of Islamabad has 37,005 cases awaiting disposal.
A total of 3,000 judges are appointed in the country. Last year 34m cases were wrapped up by our courts — what more can the judges do? asks CJP Asif Saeed Khosa.
Justice Khosa also argued that courts in other countries were over-burdened but in the case of Pakistan, he pointed out, a large number of cases posed many difficulties to the idea of inexpensive and speedy justice. “The US Supreme Court wraps 80 to 90 cases every year. The Supreme Court in the United Kingdom wraps up 100 cases each year. The Supreme Court of Pakistan wrapped up 26,000 cases last year,” he pointed out.
Providing a solution to the matter, the chief justice said: “The way [to fix this] is to fix the causes of delay in judgments. The parliament should look over laws to see how judicial review can be made better than before.”
Experts believe that parliament in the present form is not able to make any significant changes due to a number of seat different political parties have. The PTI has the majority of seats but does require the support of its allies, and perhaps of the opposition, to bring any constitutional amendment. Moreover, allies or parties sitting on the opposition benches have their own interests, therefore, it is unlikely that there shall be any serious debate on law-making in the parliament.