Justice: it doesn’t come easy

2
51

The litigation process all over Pakistan, including the federal capital, is making equity elusive and harder to come by. The complicated, lethargic and corrupt thana and katchehri culture continues to dun honest hard-working citizens and becomes even more irksome where the lower courts come into play.
The premises of the katchehri, which houses district and lower courts, offices of district administration and police, chambers of lawyers, presents a chaotic picture of our judicial system. The haphazard scene explains how truly disorganised the system of administration of justice is. In Islamabad, the katchehri is located in sector F/8.
Besides litigants dealing with civil and criminal disputes, there are many other visitors the katchehri serves who come there for different purposes associated with the judiciary. This includes purchase of stamp papers, transaction of property; attestation by oath commissioners, surrender or sell or purchase deeds, affidavits or attestation. All these tasks are apparently very simple but there is a “katchehri mafia” that makes them almost impossible without taking bribes.
Stamp paper dealer Talib Sharif, 72, claimed he has been doing business in the katchehri for 40 years. He said mismanagement and chaos have been routine in the lower courts since the emergence of Pakistan. “We have not been able to remove corruption or organise lower courts and this mess is aggravated day by day,” Sharif claims.
The litigants and other visitors generally complain of misguidance, black marketing, commissions, kickbacks and financial harassment by lawyers and other court functionaries.
“I have to give Rs 500 to the reader of a senior civil judge to get adjournment in a civil suit,” an old man told Pakistan Today, demanding anonymity. These complaints have become the order of the day.
“I am looking for the stamp paper of Rs 100 denomination. Dealers say they are out of stock but the very same are being sold for Rs 125 in the black market,” complains Mukhtar Wasif. There are agents available in the district courts who are willing to testify as bogus witnesses in any court of law for a very negligible fee. “You can hire a fake witness with as little as Rs 500-1,000. However, this ratio varies with the worth of the case,” a lawyer said. The irony is that all this is going on under the very nose of high-ranked government employees. According to a report of the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan, if the state of corruption in the katchehri persists at the existing level, the dream to see a smooth litigation will remain just a dream.
Moreover, visitors to the district courts who came there to contest their cases, told Pakistan Today that filing an FIR for a common citizen was almost impossible as police officials were always reluctant to register it.
The visitors said that the Islamabad police was used to applying delaying tactics while registering FIRs vis-a-vis dacoity, car theft, etc. In contrast, it adopted a pro-active approach when it came to the registration of crimes of a small nature such as minor accidents and brawls.
Provincial and federal governments have decided many times to transform the Thana culture in order to resolve these problems and ensure the safety of life and property of citizens as per policy, and to eliminate corruption and injustice from police stations, but to no avail.
However, the immediate steps are needed to bring about a permanent solution to all the problems being faced by the citizens while contesting cases, registering FIRs and all other court related issues.
Politicians who speak out against this status quo include Marvi Memon, Imran Khan, and former governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr Ishrat Hussain. The latter claims the culture of thana, kutchery and tehsil is sapping the vitality and energy of the nation.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Indeed, Justice does not come easy in Pakistan . There are hundred and one reasons behind this indisputable fact. It is noticed that a vast majority of young judicial officers working in the district judiciary neither have aptitude of a judge nor do they have competitive English to write instant, accurate and exact judgments. Hence, it is proposed that aptitude, attitude and English proficiency both, Spoken and written, among others, may also be taken into account while recruiting as a Judicial Officer. Poor English, poor planning and management of the court supporting also impede expeditious and easy administration of justice. Above all, our lawyers love delays. To get relief from the court fro the client is not their concern. Extract money from the poor litigant public is their be- all and end- all of life n profession. As long these issues in question, interalia, are not addressed properly, justice will not come easy in Pakistan.

Comments are closed.