Home Global Village Tayyaba torture case unveils our judicial flaws

Tayyaba torture case unveils our judicial flaws

Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife were granted bail the same day they were awarded the one year imprisonment sentence. The Tayyaba torture case is just a glimpse of how judicial bottlenecks give impetus to injustice in a society.

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News Analysis |

Additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife were swift to get bail after the Islamabad High Court announced one year jail term for both, in the case related to the torture of a maid.

Tayyaba, a 10-year-old home assistant, made headlines in December 2016, when she was recovered from the judge’s residence in a miserable physical condition with bruises, exposing the atrocities she had endured, at the hands of a civilized family. However, the decision to sentence the convicted couple to merely one year in prison and moreover, the bail, on the same day has once again exposed the flaws in our judicial system.

Though a First Information Report (FIR) of the case was filed in December 2016, even then the judicial procedure to arrest and send former judge to jail took over 16 months. Moreover, the imprisonment of former judge is not due to the effective prosecution and challan presented by the police; it is basically due to the intervention of Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who in January 2017 took Suo Moto notice of the incident, when the family had allegedly struck a deal with the judge.

The core reason behind the languishing of cases in the judicial system is the dismal number of judges, slack prosecution, presentation of ineffective or tempered challans by police and delaying tactics by lawyers to evade justice.

Though the bail granted to the couple is for seven days, more worrisome is the fact that the same bench granted bail to the judge’s family, which imprisoned it.

Pakistan’s judicial system reeks of nepotism and corruption, not at the superior or top level, but at the lower level where the clerks and other staffers associated with the judges get allegedly involved in demanding bribe for fixing the case before the bench at an earlier time, primarily due to the paucity of judges.

The Tayyaba torture case is just a glimpse of how judicial bottlenecks give impetus to injustice in a society. Prior to this case, the Shahzeb murder case also blew the lid off our judicial system – for which the top judge has now vowed to reform – and the power assertiveness of the top elite in the society.

Read more: Woman tortured by PML-N man in broad daylight; the irony of…

If we examine Tayyaba torture case and Shahrukh Jatoi case, both imply that a golden key can open any door, and in case of Pakistan, the key can maneuver judiciary as well, not directly but through flawed prosecution, hiring top lawyers or coercing the victim into succumbing to the pressure.

Shahrukh Jatoi, who was accused of murdering Shahzeb Khan, the son of a police officer, in 2012, was finally granted bail in December 2017 after the Sindh High Court ordered the retrial of the accused in a session’s court by revoking punishments, earlier awarded.

As soon as Shahrukh moved out of the jail premises with his SUV’s zooming past the thoroughfares of Karachi, a social media storm erupted with activists calling for justice. Therein, the top judge intervened once again and ordered the arrest of Shahrukh for one more time from the premises of the Supreme Court in February 2018.

Additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife were swift to get bail after the Islamabad High Court announced one year jail term for both, in the case related to the torture of a maid.

Tragically, Shahrukh had walked unscathed after the murder in 2012 and it was the Supreme Court, functioning under Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry which ordered his arrest. Even in Tayyaba case, the accused was nabbed after the intervention of Chief Justice, but as a matter of fact, the apex court’s intervention in every other case for justice is neither desirable, nor pragmatic.

The sessions court is the backbone of judicial system and the flaws at this level dent the repute of the overall system. The Supreme Court, in recent years has repaired its damaged reputation, especially with the announcement of landmark decisions regarding the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister and Jahangir Tareen, ex-Secretary General, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, however, it is the judicial system at the lower-end or public level that needs drastic changes.

Read more: Another child maid tortured in Pakistan’s Capital

As per the latest statistics of the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP), there are 38,539 cases pending with the Supreme Court and 293,947 with the five high courts. The maximum number of cases pending with the subordinate judiciary of the four provinces and the federal capital stands at 1,869,886.

The core reason behind the languishing of cases in the judicial system is the dismal number of judges, slack prosecution, presentation of ineffective or tempered challans by police and delaying tactics by lawyers to evade justice.

As the Chief Justice has vowed to reform the judiciary, he should analyze few key decisions of past to look for ways for the betterment of judicial system, otherwise the influential convicted would be walking freely, using loopholes in the system, as Raja Khurram Ali Khan used the imprisonment period of one year to his advantage today.


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