Pakistan lays down time frame for deciding cases

Islamabad, May 6 Pakistan’s new National Judicial Policy mandates a three-month time frame for deciding criminal cases, while cases attracting the death penalty have to be resolved in six months.

This apart, the policy bars Supreme Court and high court judges from officiating as provincial governors and also tightens the procedures to curb corruption.

The new policy will ensure disposal of criminal cases within a period of three months while death cases would be decided preferably in a period of six months. Likewise, priority would be given to quick disposal of women, juvenile, rent cases as well as bail matters,” The News reported Tuesday.

the National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) at a meeting chaired by Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry April 19 approved the policy “for strict observance of the code of conduct, eradication of corruption amongst judicial officers/court staff and quick disposal of case”, it added.

Briefing reporters, Supreme Court Registrar Faqir Hussain, who is the secretary of the policy-making committee, said the people would experience a positive change with the implementation of the new policy.

Highlighting the salient features of the policy relating to the independence of the judiciary and its separation from the executive, he said in future no chief justice or judge of the superior courts would accept an appointment as acting governor of a province.

Similarly, no retired judge of the superior courts would accept an appointment that was lower to his status or dignity, including appointment as presiding officer of a banking court, a customs court or an administrative tribunal.

Hussain said letters would be written to such judges to relinquish charge of their posts in the interest of judicial independence and separation from the executive, while no such appointments would be made in future.

The registrar said judges of the superior courts would follow the code of conduct laid down for them.

Chief justices of the high courts would report violation of the code, including incidents of unusual delays and inefficient performance, to the Supreme Judicial Council for action.

To eradicate corruption, Hussain said, high courts will improve existing mechanisms and procedures for initiating disciplinary proceedings against corrupt and inefficient judicial officers.

Each high court, he said, a cell would be established under the registrar for eradicating corruption from the judiciary.

Similarly, Hussain said, district and sessions judges would also report about corruption and misconduct of their subordinate judges.

Referring to the judicial backlog, he said 19,055 cases were pending in the Supreme Court, 2,092 in the Federal Shariat Court, 84,704 in the Lahore High Court, 18,571 in the Sindh High Court, 10,363 in the Peshawar High Court and 4,160 in the Balochistan High Court.

This apart, 1,565,926 cases were pending before the subordinate judiciary in the four provinces.

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