Capital’s district courts seek judges

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  • Lack of judicial officers contribute to mounting backlogs of cases

ISLAMABAD: The district courts – both east and west – suffer from acute shortage of judges at all tiers which contributes to mounting backlogs of the cases, overburdened judges and month-long adjournments.

The sanctioned strength of the judges in both the district courts is 88 whereas only 61 judges are working at various tiers. Against 62 sanctioned posts of the civil judges-cum-judicial magistrates, only 48 judges are working. Only 17 additional district and sessions judges are working while the sanctioned strength is 30.

Only nine posts of the district and sessions judges have been filled while six lie vacant. The disparity between numbers of the working judges of the district courts (west) that has only four vacant posts and district courts (east) with 23 out of 44 vacant posts is stark. It is pertinent to mention here that the district courts have territorial jurisdiction over both rural and urban areas of the federal capital and come under the Islamabad High Court.

With rising population, migration from rural to urban areas and increase in both civil and criminal litigation the surge in number of the cases in the capital’s district courts is on the rise. In the year 2017, the district courts had an alarming rate of the pending cases issue. According to official documents, the district judiciary of the east started the year 2017 with a total of 11,864 pending cases.

While 23,562 cases were instituted during 2017 bringing the total pendency for the year to 35,426. The disposal of the cases instituted during the year 2017 stood at 14,502 while the disposal of the cases instituted during previous years was 6,515. According to the documents, total disposal of the cases during the past year was 21,017. The cases pending for more than one year stands at 5349.

According to the law that the vacant posts of the judicial officers have to be filled within 120 days as per the directions of the Supreme Court and the Law and Justice Commission. Talking to Pakistan Today, Advocate Malik Ali said that the litigant bears the brunt of delays and lags due to a shortage of the judges.