ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the federal government to submit its response on a petition filed in the court seeking judicial reforms for swift justice.
A three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing the petition that called for the use of judicial activism to institutionally overhaul the country’s delay-ridden judicial system.
The constitutional petition was filed by five young lawyers – Umer Gilani, Hadiya Aziz, Muhammad Haider Imtiaz, Attaullah Hakim Kundi and Raheel Ahmed – under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making all registrars of high courts, the federal government, provincial governments and others, as respondents.
However, the bench directed the federal government to come up with a response in the next hearing of the case, while adjourning the case for three weeks.
Over the course of the hearing, the CJP observed that the judiciary was in desperate need of basic judicial reforms, which were only possible with legislation to this effect.
He further stated that carrying out legislation is not the court’s duty and that such tasks should be carried out by the concerned authorities, as he assured the relevant authorities of non-interference from the courts.
The CJP, however, admitted that there were still things that courts could manage on their own to improve the judicial system.
Pakistan’s judicial system has been under constant criticism due to an extraordinary delay in delivery of justice and a large number of the backlog cases.
The petition filed in the court quoted a report of the World Justice Index – a scientific study of 113 countries carried out by a worldwide network of independent researchers – that ranked Pakistan at 106 in terms of Access to Justice.
According to reports, there are at least 1,869,886 cases pending with the judiciary. Among these cases 38,539 are pending in the SC, 147, 542 in the LHC, 93,335 with the Sindh High Court, 30,764 with the Peshawar High Court, 6,030 in the Balochistan High Court, and 16,278 in the Islamabad High Court.
Likewise, the pendency of the district judiciary of Punjab is 1,184,551, Sindh 97,673, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 204,030, Balochistan 12,826 and Islamabad 37,753.
Earlier, in a move to bring reforms in the judiciary, National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice had approved ‘The Alternative Dispute Resolution Bill 2016’ and The Costs of Litigation Bill 2016.
The committee had observed that the bill would help to dispose of the cases in the courts early and would bring more transparency in the judicial system. The committee had also agreed to set minimum Rs2000 fine for any party in litigation in courts for causing a delay in the hearing.