LJCP proposes


Complicated theories of jurisprudence and rule of law have a lot to say on the subject but, at the end of the day, one can put it simply that dispensation of justice has two basic components: the existence of an adequate law and implementation of said law. Thus, it is of utmost important that not only the statute books keep up with the times but the implementation mechanisms (policing, proper investigation, speedy and timely hearings, conviction etc) are also in place. This is exactly what the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan observed as it issued its latest recommendation where it not only identified the gaps in Pakistan’s dated legislation but also other loopholes in justice delivery.
Whatever definition of law one ascribes to, one cannot disagree that laws are not merely the guardian of a society’s moral but also a reflection of the same because they both determine and are determined by a society’s ethical fibre. As society changes, so should they. And in some cases, where society is slow to change, they should change first. The commission was right in taking note of the regressive practice of Badal-i-sulha and recommending that a law be put in place that criminalises the practice prescribing a punishment of 10 to14 years. (The LJCP also took note of this practice last year making somewhat similar recommendation about Badal-i-sulha in the report of June 2011).
It is to state the glaringly obvious when one says that many violent practices against women remain widespread in the country. The incumbent legislature has passed a few bills that have tackled such practices including acid attacks, marriages to the Holy Book etc. This indeed is a positive first step. The practice of Badal-i-sulha must also be included in the list of anti-woman practices that must be criminalised through proper legislation. Only then can such entrenched practices be combated.
Aside from its recommendation about Badal-i-sulha, the commission also noted the problems Christian couples face in resolution of civil disputes due to outdated laws and overburdened courts. The commission stressed that developing the judicial system and administration of justice was the duty of the state and it should invest more in the judicial system to “ensure the rights of people and constitutionalism”. Unfortunately, the commission merely proposes, not disposes. Thus, these recommendations will only mean something if taken up and implemented appropriately.